Marisa Lago named chair of City Planning

Lago is a familiar face to New York City government

New York City is bringing back a familiar face to run an important city department.

Starting this month, Marisa Lago will take over as director of the Department of City Planning and chair of the City Planning Commission, replacing Carl Weisbrod, who stepped down to assume new responsibilities as chair of the Trust for Governors Island.

Lago, 61, who served last as assistant secretary for international markets and development at the U.S. Department of Treasury, began her career in city government in 1983 as an aide to then-City Planning Commission Chair Herb Sturz. She subsequently served as general counsel at the Economic Development Corp. under Mayor David Dinkins.

“This is a bittersweet moment. Carl helped to build our administration and has been part of its bedrock. His contributions have earned him a place as one of our city’s great civic leaders, and we are honored that he has agreed to take on the task of continuing Governors Island’s incredible transformation,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said

“Marisa comes to our administration with unmatched experience building neighborhoods and planning for the future. She worked side-by-side with Carl helping spur the city’s revitalization 25 years ago, and has a record of bringing communities together.

“We look forward to her taking up the reins as we build more affordable homes and foster the good jobs New Yorkers need.”

Some of Weisbrod’s achievements, according to the mayor’s office, include the revitalization of Times Square, the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan after 9/11 and the negotiation of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

“I am so proud of what we’ve achieve these past three years. From East New York to East Midtown, we are laying a foundation for truly affordable neighborhoods, world-class business districts and smart transit-oriented growth.

“It has been an incredible run, and I couldn’t be more thankful to the mayor and to my talented colleagues at City Planning,” Weisbrod said. “I’ve spent my career fighting for New York City, and it’s fitting that my next chapter will take me to the new frontier on Governor’s Island. I am excited to shape it into an iconic space of which all New Yorkers can be proud.”

In her new role, Lago will be charged with expanding the city’s efforts to secure more affordable housing in changing neighborhoods, to plan for growth responsibly and equitably, and to use the land use process to strengthen industries, businesses and communities, according to the mayor’s office.

Lago, who holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Cooper Union and a law degree from Harvard Law School, was born in Brooklyn and is fluent in Spanish.

Her public service background includes leading the Empire State Development Corp. and serving the city of Boston as chief economic development officer and director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

At the U.S. Department of Treasury, she was responsible for the department’s portfolio on international financial services regulation, development assistance, climate finance, trade and technical assistance, according to the mayor’s office.

“It’s a great honor to come home to the city I love and be given the chance to make it ever stronger and more equitable,” Lago said.

“Change is the one constant in New York, and it is never easy. I’ve had the privilege of learning how to make change work for people and businesses by watching leaders like Carl Weisbrod, and I have spent my entire career finding smart solutions to the tough problems that come with a growing, changing world.

“We can and we will keep our neighborhoods affordable, our economy competitive, our businesses thriving and our communities strong.”