Open New York, a pro-housing group that successfully pushed a plan to build affordable housing in one of the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods, is seeking to sharpen its political teeth by hiring an Adams administration official as its new leader.

The six-year-old nonprofit announced Monday that Annemarie Gray, a 35-year-old senior advisor for land use policy under Mayor Eric Adams, would become its new executive director.

The hiring, which is being funded by a philanthropic grant, reflects a broader effort by the nascent activist group to become a bigger player in shaping local and state housing policy. Gray has worked at City Hall since 2020 and has been involved in rezonings, as well as the city’s outdoor dining initiative.

In addition to Gray’s hiring, Open New York also announced that it had received an additional $500,000 in seed funding from Open Philanthropy, a charitable nonprofit started by Silicon Valley billionaires which has financed other YIMBY initiatives across the country.

The group — which became a 501(c)(4) in 2019 — has received $1.5 million to date from Open Philanthropy.

She is not the first Adams official to leave City Hall. Two weeks ago, Politico reported that Roberto Perez, the head of the city’s intergovernmental affairs office, was leaving to take a job at a tech firm. It marked the most high-profile departure within the Adams administration.

“Gray will work to build a broad coalition across the city and state to push policies and projects that expand housing opportunities, increase housing stability, and hold elected leaders accountable to addressing the housing crisis,” according to a press release.

Black and white portrait of Annemarie Gray, who is expected to be the new executive director for Open New York.

Gray is the third hire for Open New York this year. In January, Logan Phares joined as its new political director. Phares had previously worked as a legislative representative in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office.

According to lobbying records, William Thomas, the current executive director, lobbied Gray along with other city officials this year on behalf of Open New York. Phares was listed as a lobbyist employee, but Open New York said she did not lobby the city. Under city rules, she is prohibited from lobbying the mayor's office for a year.

The topics discussed included introducing legislation on legalizing accessory dwelling units and reducing parking minimums required for developments.

Thomas declined to be interviewed.

The hiring comes less than a year after Open New York scored its biggest policy victory to date with the rezoning of Soho and Noho for thousands of new apartments, including 900 affordable housing units. Supporters of the Soho Noho rezoning, including then mayoral candidate Adams, argued that it was a step toward remedying decades of housing policies that have enforced housing segregation.

But the unabashedly “yes, in my backyard” (YIMBY) activist group has also faced backlash from many residents and preservationists, who have accused the group of propping up real estate interests. Over the years, Open New York’s board members have included individuals who work for the City of New York, the Met Council, and the Century Foundation, a progressive think tank.

The group could prove to be a valuable ally for Adams, who has embraced a “City of Yes” approach that has won support from YIMBY activists. Adams has proposed zoning amendments that would increase the density of affordable housing projects without subjecting them to a lengthy land-use approval process.

At the same time, the mayor has been criticized for failing to develop more ambitious — and quantifiable — affordable housing goals.

Gray said she intended to have Open New York hold Adams accountable on housing issues and suggested that the group was interested in a broader focus beyond low-income housing.

“I really think a progressive approach to housing includes all forms of it,” she said.

Gray added that she also wanted Open New York to push for more pro-housing policies in Albany, which imposes restrictions on residential density in New York City and wields approval over developer tax-incentive programs like 421-a, a top priority for the mayor that recently expired.

Prior to working at City Hall, Gray worked in New York City’s Economic Development Corporation.

In its 2020 tax return disclosure, the most recent available, Open New York reported less than $200,000 in assets. According to the group, the nonprofit spent roughly $160,000 in 2021.

Gray is expected to begin her new job next month.

Correction: The story has been updated to correctly identify who at Open New York lobbied Gray and other city officials.

Correction: A previous version misstated the public entities that Logan Phares is barred from lobbying for a year.