Come Monday, the mayor’s inner-circle will be full again. New deputy mayor for economic development, Bob Steel, a former vice chairman at Goldman Sachs and the former CEO of Wachovia, starts in his new job, a bit more than a month after he was first selected.
Just what this will mean for the administration, its economic development agenda and its treatment of real estate and housing issues remains a question mark, as the former banker and top Treasury official in the Bush administration has yet to offer any real clues about where he wants to take the city.
To oversimplify things a bit, much of the economic development agenda for the past few years has essentially taken two major tracks. Principally, the city has been putting much effort toward moving forward on major long-term development projects that were conceived during the boom (Willets Point in Queens; the redevelopment of Coney Island), along with putting some resources toward smaller-scale projects (the first phase of the Hunter’s Point South middle-income housing development is moving along). Secondly, the city has been trying to do a few low-cost incubators for various sectors of the economy, such as media and finance, in the name of spurring job creation amid the bust.
Mr. Steel, while he’s lived in New York before, is not a well-known figure in the governmental and real estate worlds—at least not yet. He met with staff in a quick multi-day visit earlier this month, but generally has yet to make the rounds with developers and business leaders.
His predecessor, Bob Lieber, is off working with real estate investor Andrew Farkas. Mr. Lieber’s chief of staff, Tokumbo Shobowale, will stay in the same position for Mr. Steel.