RDRC Names Alexander As New Executive Director
By Miriam Rosenberg
On the night he found out that he would be named the new executive director for The Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation (RDRC), Kevin Alexander drove to the Far Rockaway business district to see what the shopping center was like at midnight. As he sat and looked at the decrepit shopping area, he saw what it was like, but he envisioned what it could be.
That could sum up how Alexander looks upon his new job - envisioning what the Rockaways could be like.
"It's exciting," said Alexander, as he talked about the future of the area.
Alexander, who replaced Curtis Archer as the agency's executive director last month, comes to RDRC after being active with organizations in Far Rockaway, Harlem and in city government.
"His vast real estate and economic development experience is one of the things that impressed the RDRC [board of directors]," Gian Jones, a member of RDRC's executive board told The Wave. "I believe the community will be very receptive of him."
Alexander has served as a consultant for the Armada Group, LLC. There he managed capital construction and special projects for, not only the Manhattan Borough President's office, but also several organizations in Harlem.
"As a project consultant to C. Virginia Fields [the former Manhattan borough president] I helped revitalize Frederick Douglas Boulevard from 110 to 135 Street," Alexander said. "We revitalized the commercial district within the area.
"Within three square blocks there are [now] three realty companies, because the demand is high. There is also the Magic Johnson Theater Complex, several quality restaurants...it was all part of the Frederick Douglas revitalization."
He has an extensive background in managing finances for both non-profit and for-profit organizations.
He was the vice president and chief financial officer for the Harlem Congregation for Community Improvement (HCCI).
The role of that organization is providing economic development and empowerment opportunities to Harlem residents through homeownership, job training, employment opportunities and local commercial revitalization, according to HCCI's website - very much like the goals of the RDRC.
While at HCCI, Alexander helped developed the Bradhurst Plan, which chose an area in Harlem to redevelop.
According to HCCI's website, phase one of the plan developed 301 units of housing along West 145 Street and on Frederick Douglas Boulevard. The second phase has 281 units along West 150 Street, Frederick Douglass Blvd., Bradhurst Avenue and West 145 St. There are also commercial areas and a park.
"It was not just bricks and mortar, it was about people," explained Alexander. "As you improved the quality of life, people began to rediscover the community."
He was also chief financial officer for the Harlem Dowling West Side Center for Children and Family services - a nonprofit agency with services in foster care , adoption , preventive services, after school programsand related assistance for children and families.
Alexander is a past chairman of the board for the Bethel Mission Loving Daycare Center in Far Rockaway, whose main office is located in Jamaica.
In the public sector, he held several positions with the City of New York Human Resources Administration. Alexander served as HRA's first Deputy Agency Chief, Contracting Officer and the Director of Information and Management Systems.
With the Far Rockaway Shopping Center set to be revitalized, Alexander hopes RDRC can be part of it.
"We hope to play an active role in either providing employment, the workforce required, because it is an opportunity to create jobs for residents to participate in the rebuilding - or being able to market new businesses to the shopping center," he said.
"[Perhaps] by being able to leverage funds which will make it affordable for long-term rents for new businesses, or if we are able to assist in expediting the land use process...if we are able to advocate for the community board and community groups affected by this, we would love to fill those roles."
Alexander, who was chosen after a selection process that began with more than 50 applicants, holds a Bachelor's Degree in Public Administration and Government from St. John's University and a Masters Degree in Finance and Management from NYU's Robert F. Wagner School Of Public Service.
Alexander, who is originally from Jamaica in Southeast Queens, currently lives in Long Island with
his wife Lorraine. They have two daughters - Ja-Nay (14) and Denaee (22).