Valerie Santos was named the District of Columbia’s deputy mayor for planning and economic development.
Santos replaces Neil Albert, who became city administrator, who prepares the budget and oversees deputy mayors. Santos had served as Albert’s chief operating officer.
Santos will face the challenge of attracting businesses to the district.
One of her first tasks will likely be coordinating financing with the Washington Convention Center Authority for hotel construction. Its announcement last week that it wants to sell $750 million of bonds would likely put the district over its legal debt limit. Albert was working with district chief financial officer Natwar Gandhi to find private financing for part of the construction costs.
Other projects under Santos’ watch will be the $2 billion Southwest Waterfront development, the $1 billion redevelopment of the former convention center site, and $70 million for other projects.
Previously Santos was a vice president with Jones Lang LaSalle, an urban public-private development company. She earned her MBA from Harvard Business School and a masters in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.