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CRE Executive To Lead Potential Governors Island Redevelopment

Governors Island

The group that runs Governors Island has hired a residential real estate executive to oversee a possible massive development project on the island.

The Trust for Governors Island hired Christopher Tepper as its chief development officer, Crain’s New York Business reports. It is a new position, and Tepper is joining the nonprofit from Hudson Cos., where he was a director.

Tepper’s job will be to shepherd the redevelopment of a 33-acre piece of land on the island, that could potentially be home to some 4.5M SF of new buildings, per Crain’s.

The island must first be rezoned, however, so that academic, commercial or cultural spaces could be built. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the start of the required public review process a year ago, but it has been held up. Former Deputy Mayor Alica Glen pushed the former president and CEO of the trust, Michael Samuelian, out of his job, per Politico.

Governors Island, off Lower Manhattan, was a military base for centuries, and residential development is prohibited there. A Dutch governor bought the island in 1637 from two Native Americans for two ax heads, a string of beads and some nails, per The New York Times.

In recent years, the city has spent millions to build more than 30 acres of outdoor space and attractions.

"Chris brings an extraordinary track record for delivering transformative projects that have enlivened neighborhoods and created jobs throughout New York City," Clare Newman, the new president and CEO of the trust, said in a statement to Crain’s. "We’re thrilled to bring his expertise and his passion for mission-oriented projects to Governors Island, where he will be an important advocate for its future expansion."

Tepper, who has also previously worked for Jamestown, said that he wants to turn the island into a “true 24/7 hub of innovative institutions, forward-thinking businesses and inspiring cultural activity.”