Brian E. Lawlor has been named commissioner of the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) as well as CEO and president of “nyhomes,” which includes the New York State Housing Finance Agency and the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA).

The appointment consolidates the leadership positions at the different agencies. The agencies will remain separate entities, but the move is seen as the first step in creating a single management structure. In his new post, Lawlor will earn an annual salary of $225,000.

His appointment comes about four months after the state's two top housing officials resigned.

Deborah VanAmerongen stepped down as DHCR commissioner at the start of the year. She is now an adviser with the Nixon Peabody law firm, which has a large affordable housing practice.

Priscilla Almodovar left as head of the housing finance agency and SONYMA in December and is now COO of the community development banking business at JPMorgan Chase.

Lawlor served as DHCR's acting commissioner since January and was executive deputy commissioner since 2007. From 1992 to 1994, he worked as assistant secretary to the governor for housing and in 1994 as counsel to the state director of housing.

Schnitzer to Leave Centerline

Marc D. Schnitzer is retiring as CEO and president of Centerline Capital Group to join an affiliate of Island Capital Group, LLC.

Robert L. Levy, who has been CFO since 2006, was recently named COO. He has been tapped to assume the role of president upon Schnitzer's resignation.

Schnitzer has been part of Centerline and its predecessor companies, Related Capital and CharterMac, since 1986, where he led a team that raised and deployed $10 billion of investor equity in a portfolio of more than 1,400 low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) properties. In his new role, he will establish and lead a business venture to expand the investor base in the affordable housing industry.

Island Capital is a real estate merchant banking firm and the parent company of C-III Capital Partners, LLC, which became a 40 percent owner of Centerline earlier this year.

CREA Opens Boston Office

City Real Estate Advisors, Inc. (CREA), announced the opening of a Boston office. Tony Bertoldi and Michael Murray, former managing directors at a major tax credit syndication firm, have joined CREA and will manage the new office. In their new roles, Bertoldi is senior vice president of syndications, and Murray is senior vice president of acquisitions.

Sereda Joins NEF

Howard Sereda has been named senior vice president of portfolio asset acquisitions at the National Equity Fund, Inc. (NEF), in Chicago.

Sereda recently served as managing director in the affordable housing group at Centerline Capital Group in New York. Prior to that, he was vice president and senior investment officer with Citibank's Community Development Group.

He will oversee NEF's third-party asset management business, which leverages the firm's expertise in asset managing its $7.5 billion in LIHTC investments to meet the needs of other investors and syndicators.

Stratford Announces Senior VP

Miles M. Hapgood III has joined Stratford Capital Group as senior vice president. He is a member of the firm's affordable housing property acquisitions team. Prior to joining Stratford Capital, Hapgood served as vice president and principal at a national tax credit syndication firm for more than 29 years.

CHFA Promotes Gomez

Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) has promoted Jaime Gomez to COO.

He has been the authority's commercial lending director since 2003. As COO, Gomez will serve on CHFA's fourmember executive team and oversee the single-family and commercial lending divisions, a nearly 57,000-unit asset management portfolio, and marketing and strategic development.

Gomez has worked for CHFA since 1999, first serving as director of business finance.

JCHE Names New President

Amy Schectman has been named president and CEO of Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly (JCHE) in Brighton, Mass., effective Aug. 16, succeeding Ellen Feingold, who is retiring after 28 years as president. Schectman currently serves as associate director for public housing and rental assistance for the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. JCHE has been building and managing nonsectarian seniors housing in the Boston area since 1965.