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Mayor Taps Hudson Yards Real Estate Exec to Run Governors Island

By Irene Plagianos | August 26, 2016 2:42pm | Updated on August 29, 2016 8:42am

LOWER MANHATTAN — A real estate executive who spearheaded the sprawling, $25 billion Hudson Yards mixed-use project, has been tapped to oversee the continued development of Governors Island.

Michael Samuelian, vice president of real estate firm Related Companies, has been nominated to take over as CEO and president of The Trust for Governors Island, the mayor's office announced Friday.

The nomination comes about a month after longtime Governors Island president, Leslie Koch, stepped down.

The mayor announced in February that the city is pushing ahead in its goal towards making Governors Island a year-round destination, with new plans to develop 33 acres on the south side of the island into an "Innovation Cluster" — an overhaul that will cater to educational institutions and startups to "help position New York City as the worldwide leader in technology and innovation," the mayor had said.

Samuelian, an architect, has been responsible for the "urban planning, design management and public approvals" of Hudson Yards, the 17 million square feet of development on Manhattan’s West Side, according to the mayor's office.

"As a born and bred New Yorker, I am both excited and honored to again serve this great city and its residents," Samuelian said in a statement. "Building upon all of the hard work that's been put into making Governors Island a great destination, we can further harness the energy of the city to find new opportunities for cultural, institutional and commercial uses that will expand access and enhance the experiences on the Island for all New Yorkers.”

Samuelian’s nomination will be voted on by the Trust for Governors Island Board of Directors next month.