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WASHINGTON, DC-Mayor Adrian Fenty has selected Valerie Santos as the successor to Neil Albert, the city’s deputy mayor for Planning and Economic Development. Albert moved up the chain of command last month when he was named City Administrator. He took that position after Dan Tangherlini’s was tapped to join the Obama Administration.

Santos is familiar with the city’s political apparatus; most recently she was Albert’s COO, where she oversaw the day-to-day execution of the city’s economic development strategy, including coordinating its public-private development, affordable housing, business attraction and retention, and neighborhood revitalization initiatives.

Albert’s replacement has been a subject of keen interest to developers, which must liaison with the Office for many functions. Fenty signaled his understanding of how important a smooth-running Planning and Economic Development office is during his remarks Wednesday morning when he announced Santos as the successor. “We’ve got more than $13 billion worth of development in the District’s development pipeline and we need to ensure that during these tough economic times we do everything we can to keep that investment flowing.”

Santos will be focusing on some of the largest projects underway right now, he also said, including the $2-billion Southwest Waterfront redevelopment, the $1-billion redevelopment of the 10-acre former Convention Center site and more than $70 million worth of waterfront parks and infrastructure projects. DC’s development portfolio also includes a number of smaller-sized housing and mixed-use projects, including the O Street Market in Shaw, the redevelopment of the Minnesota-Benning Metrorail Station site and the New Communities Initiative.

Besides coordinating economic development issues, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development also oversees a cluster of agencies, including Department of Small and Local Business Development, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Office of Planning and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

Prior to joining the District government Santos was a vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle, where she specialized in urban public-private development. She was also a manager with Ernst & Young’s real estate group and an associate with Hamilton Rabinovitz & Alschuler.

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