Katten Attracts Former NYC Housing Czar Louise Carroll

by Tom Smith

Katten announced that it will add as a partner in its Real Estate practice award-winning former New York City Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Louise Carroll, who helped deliver nearly a quarter-million affordable housing units in the city’s 59 community districts as part of what has been called the most expansive affordable housing plan in US history.

Louise is a game changer, a brilliant lawyer whose unceasing passion for bettering the lives of others feeds her remarkable ability to affect major change,” said Ken Lore, chair of Katten’s East Coast Real Estate practice.

“Louise has a keen understanding of the policies and processes that developers and project owners must navigate, and she has the depth of experience to steer clients through the financial and legal complexities of various housing projects and a range of related matters,” Lore added.

“Owners, developers, lenders and other deal participants choose Katten to address stubborn challenges others cannot solve. In this way, Louise is a perfect fit. Our clients will benefit greatly from the knowledge and skills she acquired during her 20+ years of top-notch work in public service.”

Carroll starts at Katten on March 1. Last year, she and other New York City officials announced that the number of affordable housing units preserved or constructed there in recent years had reached 200,000 while Carroll was commissioner. In that role, she pushed for and helped develop policies to strengthen the department’s processes for public/private rezonings and requests for proposals, while improving enforcement efforts to protect tenants and prevent displacement. She also increased opportunities for minority- and women-owned business enterprises in the affordable housing space.

Carroll helped design and implement the city’s groundbreaking Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program (MIH) requiring that permanently affordable housing be part of residential rezoning. She recently was awarded the James W. Rouse Civic Medal of Honor for using housing as a platform for economic opportunity, collaborating on urgent work related to the effects of the pandemic and empowering Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) developers in New York City.

Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Carroll as housing commissioner and chair of the Housing Development Corporation (the city’s bond financing agency) in 2019 after she had served as associate commissioner for housing incentives and before that, assistant commissioner for inclusionary housing. The former mayor placed Carroll in charge of the city’s ongoing affordable housing plan that aims to deliver a total of 300,000 affordable housing units by 2026. Carroll briefly left the city housing department in 2018 to serve as general counsel and senior vice president for the New York City Housing Development Corporation.

Carroll began her career as an attorney for the Business Law Division of the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, followed by four years as associate counsel, Litigation, in the Enforcement Division of the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board and then six years as associate general counsel for Tax Incentives and Inclusionary Housing. She was chair of the board of directors of the New York City Housing Development Corporation and was an active member of the boards of several civic organizations, including The United Nations Development Corporation, the Housing Partnership Development Corporation, and the Center for New York City Neighborhoods.

Katten’s Affordable Housing and Community Development group comprises real estate and tax attorneys who have helped create innovative financing structures for affordable housing, workforce housing, mixed-income housing and community development projects, utilizing public-private partnerships, federal and state tax credits, taxable bonds, tax-exempt bonds and private equity, much of it in New York City, where these types of transactions originated and are most prevalent. The firm’s innovation in the space also includes the creation of several unique tax structures that began in New York and have since spread nationwide. It is this experience and innovation that separates Katten real estate attorneys from those at other firms.

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