Andrew Kimball, who is in charge of the Brooklyn waterfront complex known as Industry City, will become the head of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Mayor Eric Adams announced Wednesday.
In his new role as president of the EDC, Kimball will lead the city’s main economic development agency that seeks to attract new companies and industries. His appointment comes after the leading candidate, New York Building Congress CEO Carlos Scissura, withdrew from consideration amid a report by The City that he engaged in illegal lobbying practices on behalf of a developer.
Kimball previously headed the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a municipal-owned manufacturing hub that most recently produced face shields and sanitizers as part of New York City’s COVID-19 response. Speaking at a news conference there, Adams said Kimball had “a long track record of improving environments and turning around industries.”
As the CEO of Industry City, an office and retail complex, he oversaw a failed rezoning effort that developers said would have added thousands of jobs. Opposing lawmakers, however, said it would spur gentrification and the fight sparked a larger debate over the Council's land-use practices.
The EDC owns and manages 66 million square feet of real estate across the five boroughs, and often leases them to private or nonprofit developers. Among the projects the EDC is charged with overseeing is the NYC Ferry, which started in 2017 and has struggled to grow ridership.
Asked by a reporter whether the EDC and city — which recently provided a $23 million infusion of funding as a way of keeping fares down — should continue to subsidize the system, Kimball called the ferry one of the city’s “great success stories” of the last decade.
However, he added, “We need to be looking at the cost structure and management of that, and that will be something I'll be looking at very closely once I start.”
The EDC is also the owner of the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx, where a plan to retrofit an ice skating rink fizzled last year after the developer failed to secure the necessary funding. Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson recently told Gothamist any new plan for the armory must be “community driven.”
On Wednesday, Adams also announced that Lindsay Greene, a chief strategy officer at the EDC, will serve as CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, which manages the space. Greene will become the first Black woman and openly LGBTQ person in that role.
Her appointment comes as the mayor is facing backlash from LGBTQ advocates over his appointment of pastors with a history of anti-gay views. On Monday, he said he planned to appoint Fernando Cabrera, a former Bronx City Councilmember who had expressed his opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion, over the loud objections of a group of lawmakers.
Adams has denied being insensitive to the city’s LGBTQ community, noting his decision as state senator in voting to legalize same-sex marriage in 2011.
Adams’ announcements came the day before the Council is expected to confirm two picks – Sylvia Hinds-Radix for corporation counsel and Jocelyn Strauber for investigation commissioner – both of which require the legislative body’s approval.
Asked about criticism over his decision to appoint Cabrera, the mayor replied, “If we say everyone who did not get it then should be banished permanently, that's the wrong message ... The goal is to convert, allow people to evolve so that they can see the error of their ways.”
A previous version misstated Lindsay Greene's status at the EDC. She is currently a chief strategy officer.