Rafael E. Cestero, former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, has been named by the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) Board of Directors to serve as President and CEO of the non-profit organization and its for-profit development subsidiary, CPC Resources, Inc.
Cestero, 43, succeeds Michael Lappin, who announced his retirement last November after leading the company for 31 years.
CPC, created in 1974 to stem a tide of abandonment in New York City, has financed the preservation and development of nearly 144,000 affordable housing units involving public and private investments of approximately $8 billion.
“Rafael is the ideal candidate to head CPC given his exceptional depth of knowledge and wide-ranging leadership role in the affordable housing field,” said Michael Hegarty, board chairman who is also senior advisor, CCMP Capital Advisors.
“He brings a valued perspective with outstanding credentials in the public, private and non-profit sectors, underscored by impressive, results-oriented experience. His creativity and unstinting commitment to affordable housing make him a perfect choice in these challenging times to build on Mike Lappin’s extraordinary legacy and record of achievement.”
Cestero said: “For anyone passionately concerned about affordable housing, New York’s neighborhoods and our housing infrastructure, leading CPC presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The mission of CPC to provide affordable housing and a reliable source of capital for our housing stock has never been more important.”
Shaun Donovan, Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, said: “I worked for Mike Lappin at CPC in my first job after graduate school and learned so much from him.
“Today dozens of neighborhoods in New York City that were written off in the city’s darkest hours decades ago are vibrant and thriving thanks to Mike and CPC. I wish him all the best as he leaves CPC and I’m delighted that CPC’s leadership will continue in such strong hands with Rafael Cestero taking the helm.”
Cestero most recently held the position of managing director of L+M Development Partners, a private sector developer of affordable and market rate housing where he was instrumental in efforts to expand nationally and restructure the property management business.
Cestero was appointed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) in February of 2009 and served as Commissioner until April 2011.
As Commissioner, he launched a number of important initiatives, including the updated New Housing Marketplace Plan, a $750 million nitiative to stabilize distressed multi-family properties and a Proactive Preservation Program.
Prior to being appointed Commissioner, Cestero served as the Deputy Commissioner of Development at HPD from 2004-2007 and worked for Enterprise Community Partners for 15 years in key leadership positions, including director of New York programs, and most recently as senior vice president and chief program officer for the national Enterprise Community Partners.
Cestero received his Masters degree in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his undergraduate degree in Public Policy Analysis from Cornell University.