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NEW YORK CITY-Rafael Cestero on Friday was named to serve as the city’s housing commissioner, succeeding Shaun Donovan, who is now Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration. Cestero is expected to start in his new job on March 16.

For Cestero, the appointment represents a return to the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, where he served as deputy commissioner from 2004 to 2007. In that capacity, he was one of the drivers behind the expansion of the Bloomberg administration’s $7.5-billion New Housing Marketplace Plan to fund the new construction and preservation of 165,000 homes and apartments over a 10-year period. He helped establish the NYC Acquisition Fund, intended to make it easier for developers to create affordable housing by providing them with faster access to equity and predevelopment capital.

Cestero will return to HPD from Enterprise Community Partners, where he served most recently as SVP and chief program officer, overseeing the organization’s national programs related to housing production, income targeting and quality of life measures. Much of Cestero’s 19-year career to date has been spent at Enterprise, aside from his two-and-a-half-year stint at HPD earlier in the decade. Between 1993 and 2004, he led Enterprise’s efforts in New York City and established the nonprofit’s presence in Upstate New York.

In a statement, Mayor Michael Bloomberg says Cestero “will bring tremendous experience and a track record of innovative thinking to HPD. This is a challenging time and Rafael has big shoes to fill–Shaun Donovan’s success developing and implementing our housing plan led him to a spot in President Obama’s cabinet. But we are lucky to have found a successor who brings the same high level of innovative thinking, experience and commitment to affordable housing in New York City.”

Doris Koo, president and COO of Enterprise, says in a release, “New York City is fortunate to have someone with Rafael’s expertise in the housing and community development field and his passion for affordable housing to lead HPD. Enterprise looks forward to continuing its partnership with the city of New York and to work along side our longtime colleague and friend.”

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