NEW YORK CITY—The commercial real estate industry has gained a major foothold in Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s administration. The Mayor Friday appointed Carl Weisbrod chair of the City Planning Commission.

In announcing Weisbrod, Mayor de Blasio emphasized the administration would increase the city’s capacity for bold, long-term and comprehensive planning. To achieve that goal, the Mayor pledged to dedicate additional resources to the Department of City Planning that will expedite the evaluation and certification of land-use applications.

Weisbrod previously was one of two co-chairs of Mayor-elect de Blasio’s transition team. His more than 35 years of service in government extends back to Mayor John Lindsay‘s administration, which he joined as a young anti-poverty lawyer at the Department of Relocation. He was appointed by Mayor Edward Koch to spearhead the city’s efforts to transform Times Square, and he also served as executive director of the NYC Dept. of City Planning, executive director of the National Service Program, and chairman of the NYC Loft Board. As president of New York State’s 42nd Street Development Project, Weisbrod led the effort to revitalize Times Square.

Under Mayor David Dinkins, Weisbrod was the founding president of the New York City Economic Development Corp., where he negotiated the United States Tennis Association‘s 99-year lease in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park—regarded as one of the most beneficial municipal sports deals in the nation—as well as the transaction that brought Harlem its first major supermarket, the Pathmark on 125th Street.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg appointed him as a director of the Trust for Governors Island and the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., where he helped lead the post-9/11 recovery of downtown neighborhoods. That tenure overlapped with his 10 years as the founding president of the Alliance for Downtown New York, the largest business improvement district in the nation, [now called the Downtown Alliance], setting in motion the evolution of the financial district from an area dominated by daytime office workers into a thriving 24-7 neighborhood.

Weisbrod also served as the head of the real estate division of Trinity Church. He is a former trustee of the Ford Foundation and the Urban Land Institute. He has been a partner at the firm HR&A since 2011, where he managed the successful rezoning of the Hudson Square area in Manhattan into a dynamic hub for creative industries and new housing, including up to 700 affordable units.

“Carl is a quintessential New Yorker,” asserts de Blasio. “He brings a real passion for our neighborhoods and our diversity across the five boroughs. And he also understands exactly how the city can shape development to stoke the most growth, the strongest affordability, and the best jobs for New Yorkers. He is ready to take these challenges head-on.”

Adds Weisbrod, “I love this city. I’ve spent my entire career revitalizing its neighborhoods and making sure New Yorkers were the ones who benefited from good growth in their communities. We have such an enormous opportunity to put people to work in good-paying jobs, build affordable homes, and create stronger, more resilient communities—but that demands an approach that doesn’t let a single tool sit idle. We are committed to striking tough bargains and making farsighted decisions that protect New Yorkers and help us build a stronger city.”