This workshop focused on using quasi-public corporations to achieve local economic development goals. Quasi-public corporations are government-backed, private corporation with a public mandate to provide services that benefit the public. In NY State, municipalities can create a number of quasi-public corporations to support their economic development initiatives and facilitate sustainable development. Panelists discussed local development corporations and industrial development agencies and the tools and strategies they can employ.
As the co-founding Principal and President of Collins Enterprises, LLC, Arthur Collins is in charge of all development activities for the company. His responsibilities include sourcing new projects as well as budgeting, design, construction and timely delivery of the company’s redevelopment and development initiatives in all markets. Mr. Collins has 35 years’ experience in managing development and construction for major residential and commercial projects in the New York market and in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. As a planning and development feasibility consultant, Mr. Collins has also helped cities such as New Orleans, Yonkers, NY and large corporations maximize their financial returns through innovative land use concepts and building design. Mr. Collins initiates company policy and charts strategic direction along with the other company directors. Mr. Collins is an active member of the Urban Land Institute, and Collins Enterprises is Chairman of the Connecticut/Westchester local chapter. Mr. Collins is asked often to speak at conferences and seminars dealing especially with creative land use and urban redevelopment. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oregon and a Master’s degree in Urban Design from the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Collins is a former trustee of the Conway School, a graduate institution in land planning in Massachusetts, a Real Estate advisor for the Kent School Board of Trustees in Connecticut, a speaker at Columbia University, Pace University and Yale, and is active in the Land Use Law Center at Pace University. He currently serves as the Chair for the ULI Westchester/Fairfield District Council.
Luiz Aragon brings to the City of New Rochelle over two decades of governmental experience in New York City and upstate New York; and the momentum necessary to prepare our City for the next phase in our history. His broad expertise includes community development, economic development and revitalization, housing, planning, transportation, and environmental management.
Under his leadership, New Rochelle has been able to reposition itself as a leading transit oriented development (TOD) destination in the tri-state area. In partnership with the City Council, Mr. Aragon has rezoned approximately 300 acres of the City’s downtown to accommodate over 10 million square feet of development. His accomplishments also include catalytic chances regarding our City’s branding and technology initiatives.
Preceding his appointment as Commissioner for Development for the City of New Rochelle, Mr. Aragon served as Commissioner for Planning and Environmental Management for Sullivan County, NY and Deputy Commissioner for Preservation Services for NYC’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).
As Planning Commissioner in Sullivan County, Mr. Aragon led the Economic Development Corporation, which acted as the catalyst for economic revitalization in the County. His extensive portfolio included the revitalization of main streets throughout the County, the advancement and repositioning of the Concord Hotel and Casino development, and a variety of additional creative and new job-generating investment opportunities. Furthermore, Mr. Aragon was the County representative in Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council and played a key role in the Mid-Hudson Region Sustainability Consortium.
During his tenure with HPD, Mr. Aragon was responsible for half of HPD’s workforce and his contributions ranged from a variety of innovative management and technological tools designed to enhance performance and maximize productivity to budget, legislative, and political matters. His responsibilities included the enforcement of the Housing Maintenance code citywide while implementing innovative community and economic revitalization initiatives across New York City. Mr. Aragon was responsible for HPD’s neighborhood preservation efforts citywide in order to assist developers, owners, and tenants in preserving housing conditions and neighborhoods. Those efforts were augmented by the extensive work led by Mr. Aragon regarding the control and abatement of housing related narcotics activities, Housing Litigation initiatives, and the creation and management of the largest municipal housing education program in the country. Earlier in his career at HPD, Mr. Aragon was also responsible for the day-to-day management of the entire HPD-owned housing stock.
Prior to HPD, Mr. Aragon served at New York City’s Department of Transportation as Assistant Commissioner for Capital Projects and as Assistant Commissioner for Planning and Urban Mobility.
Mr. Aragon began his civil service career in New York City government as an architect and planner at the Department of Parks and Recreation and subsequently held positions of increased responsibility in that agency, including Director of the Audit and re-Engineering unit and Director of the Disciplinary unit.
Mr. Aragon earned an MBA from Baruch College, CUNY and a BA in Architecture from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He is a resident of downtown New Rochelle.
Mr. Chafizadeh serves as the Office Managing Partner of the White Plains Office of the law firm, Harris Beach PLLC. Harris Beach has 12 offices in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut with 200+ attorneys. Mr. Chafizadeh serves as the Town Attorney in Mt. Pleasant and the Village Attorney in Dobbs Ferry. Mr. Chafizadeh also serves as special counsel to numerous municipalities throughout Westchester County on zoning and land-use issues. Mr. Chafizadeh and his colleagues represent numerous Industrial Development Agencies and Local Development Corporations throughout the region and throughout New York State in all types of transactions, including: straight lease transactions and bond financing.
Norma Drummond is the Commissioner of Planning for Westchester County. With almost 30 years of experience administering community development and affordable housing programs for Westchester County, she provides direct assistance to the municipalities, developers and non-profit agencies, helping them identify and address the needs of their low and moderate income residents and neighborhoods.
She has many years of experience administering the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, the Community Development Block Grant program and other HUD programs for the County.
For the last five years, she has focused on the implementation of the County’s Fair Housing Settlement Agreement, encouraging the development of 750 affordable units in the County’s less diverse municipalities. Ms. Drummond is a Past President of the National Association for County Community and Economic evelopment (NACCED). She served on the National Association of Counties (NACo) Subcommittee on Community and Economic Development and served on several non- profit housing agency boards including Community Capital New York and the Westchester Community Housing Resource Center. Ms. Drummond has a Masters in Public Administration from Pace University and a Bachelors Degree in Economics, History and Political Science from the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Carl Fulgenzi has been a Member of the Mt. Pleasant IDA since 1989 and Chairman since 2015.Carl has also served as Town Councilman, 1990-1994, was re-elected councilman in 2007 and again in 2011 and sworn in as Town Supervisor in 2014 and serves as the elected Supervisor today.
A resident of Sleepy Hollow since 1996, Ken Wray was elected Village Trustee in 2007 and elected Village Mayor in 2009. He was re-elected in 2011, 2013, 2015, and in 2017 Ken Wray was re-elected again as Village Mayor for a 5th term.
Ken is the Executive Director of the Parodneck Foundation, a New York City non-profit providing affordable housing and other services for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers.
Ken received his BA from Columbia University and his MS from Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.
He and his wife Lynn Moffat have three children, all of whom have graduated from Sleepy Hollow High School.