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L.A. mayor selects new housing chief from Chicago

November 20, 2009 |  4:47 pm
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today announced his selection of Douglas Guthrie to become the new general manager of the city’s Housing Department.

Guthrie, a former top official at the Chicago Housing Authority, most recently worked with private ventures focused on affordable urban development and the redevelopment of old public housing into mixed-use city centers.

Guthrie served for six years as president of Kimball Hill Urban Centers in Chicago, which built mixed-income affordable housing in many depressed city centers that most traditional developers would avoid, including a project with former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros, one of Villaraigosa’s long-time political supporters.

Kimball Hill Urban Centers is a subsidiary of Kimball Hill Homes, a well-established Chicago-based building company that filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008 amid one of the worst nationwide housing downturns since the Great Depression.

Guthrie also had served as the head of National Equity Fund, a nonprofit that raised money to build affordable housing, and in the late 1980s worked as the deputy executive director for the Chicago Housing Authority.
L.A.’s former general manager of housing, Mercedes Marquez, stepped down in April to become assistant secretary for community planning and development at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Guthrie’s appointment will now go before the City Council for confirmation.

--Phil Willon at L.A. City Hall