Mission Success: Why NYC Needs More Diverse, Inclusive Housing 

Melanie La Rocca, a former city official now serving as BFC Partners’ COO, dives into what it takes to move the needle.

Melanie La Rocca believes the divide between the private and public sectors isn’t that monumental anymore. Image courtesy of BFC Partners

“We need to build more. It’s just a fact,” Melanie La Rocca told Multi-Housing News Senior Editor Laura Calugar in the August episode of Mission Success: Women in Multifamily, the monthly podcast series dedicated to powerful female professionals.

La Rocca has a strong background in construction, operations, efficiency, development and external affairs after serving in various public roles within different New York City agencies in the past two decades. Most recently, she was the metro’s first Chief Efficiency Officer, and prior to that she served as Commissioner of the city’s Department of Buildings, where she regulated the lawful use of more than 1 million buildings and approximately 45,000 active construction sites.

READ ALSO: Easing NYC’s Affordable Housing Crisis

She describes herself as a “classic New Yorker who believes in NYC’s exceptionalism,” which is why she was never tempted to accept job offers in other parts of the country. In fact, she still lives in her home borough, Queens.

At the beginning of this summer, La Rocca decided it was time to learn new skills, so she accepted a role in the private sector for the first time. Now, she serves as the Chief Operating Officer at BFC Partners, a development company with a particular focus on mixed-use, mixed-income community-driven projects.

Here’s what the seasoned real estate veteran touched on in this podcast episode:

  • Making the switch from public to private (1:08)
  • How previous experience will help in her new role at BFC (2:12)
  • Collaborating with former colleagues (3:58)
  • Why she never left New York City (6:10)
  • Solutions with immediate impact on housing affordability and supply (6:59)
  • BFC’s approach to community development (13:11)
  • The benefits of mixed-use, mixed-income projects to the NYC community (17:50)
  • The redevelopment of the historic Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights (19:06)
  • The latest on the third and final phase of the 1709 Surf Ave. project in Coney Island (21:56)
  • How mixed-use, mixed-income developments promote housing diversity and integration (24:08)
  • The future of mixed-use, mixed-income projects in NYC (25:32)

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