James (Jim) Whelan, a veteran of the Bloomberg administration and former senior leader at a private real estate company, has been promoted to Executive Vice President of The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), announced John Banks, the organization’s President. Whelan has served as REBNY’s Senior Vice President for Public Affairs since 2010.
During his tenure, Whelan elevated the organization’s advocacy and political efforts; helped devise and implement a strategy to better train, test and license building crane operators; and has played a critical role in the organization’s efforts to change how the City of New York evaluates potential historic districts.
In his new position, Whelan will continue to coordinate REBNY’s relations with other business and trade associations around the city and state, represent the Board’s positions to the public and elected officials, and help manage issue-oriented campaigns of interest to the real estate and business community.
Prior to joining REBNY, Whelan served as Senior Vice President for Public Affairs at Muss Development where he was responsible for overseeing the firm’s governmental, political and community relations, and managed several of the firm’s development projects.
Prior to his tenure at Muss Development, Whelan served as Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor for the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development of New York City, Daniel Doctoroff, from late 2005 through 2007. Among his accomplishments in this role, Whelan was responsible for initiating strategies to secure ULURP approval for Willets Point and Coney Island; managing the administration’s day-to-day economic development activities including executing Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s vision for a resurgent Lower Manhattan and the implementing PlanNYC, which made New York City a global leader for sustainability; and worked with a wide array of City agencies, boards and commissions to carry out Mayor Bloomberg’s economic development agenda.
Before that, Whelan served as the executive director of the Hudson Yards Coalition, an economic development advocacy organization that sought the implementation of the Hudson Yards plan on Manhattan’s Far West Side, including the legislative approval of the largest rezoning in the City’s history.
In 1999, Whelan created the economic development advocacy organization, the Downtown Brooklyn Council, served as its first executive director and oversaw the creation of the Downtown Brooklyn Plan, a redevelopment strategy for Downtown Brooklyn that has resulted in $300 million in public investment and generated $3.9 billion in private investment since 2006.
In 2002, Whelan was named as one of Crain’s New York Business “40 Under 40.” He is a graduate of New York University and the Fordham University School of Law, and resides in Bellerose, Queens with his wife and two children. He also serves on the Development Committee for the YMCA of Greater New York as well as the Board of Directors of the New York City chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.