For more than 40 years, AAFE has focused on advancing the rights of Asian Americans and all of those in need through advocacy and access in civil rights, to provide immigration assistance, social services, affordable housing; to promote economic development; to empower its communities through research and publishing that embody critical  issues and concerns; and to foster understanding and unity among diverse communities through coalitions and collaborations.


AAFE provides services to all residents who live in the five boroughs of New York City. Specifically, AAFE targets the over one-million Asian residents of the city, representing more than 13% of New York’s total population. AAFE maintains offices in  areas of the city with particularly large Asian populations – including Chinatown and the Lower East Side in Manhattan; and Flushing and Jackson Heights in Queens. 


Poised for transformational change and to continue building the right real estate portfolio, assets and team for an evolving, growing and diverse organization, AAFE seeks a seasoned, hands-on Director of Real Estate Development with significant experience underwriting affordable housing and in securing federal, state and local financing (preference will be given to applicants who have experience in the New York State and local real estate and financing programs).  The successful candidate will lead public/private partnerships and complex affordable housing projects from the initiation phase through to completion. He/she will design, implement and manage an extensive real estate portfolio and assets (including management of  underwriting and funding relationships, processes and sources) and leading a high-performing team of real estate and banking professionals responsible for multiple programs and services. These include: affordable housing and commercial development projects, property management and tenant services and housing policy and advocacy. He/she will work with AAFE’s  two Co-Executive Directors and Board of Directors, senior leadership team and real estate team to drive the organization’s mission, vision, values and culture to implement ambitious strategic goals and new business models to maximize AAFE’s impact in the communities it serves. As AAFE’s new, experienced, Director of Real Estate, he/she will work with the Co-Executive Directors,  senior leadership team and real estate development staff , to foster a strong, unified organization characterized by mission-driven investments in people and place; one that requires collegiality and cross-functional teamwork.


Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of Asian Americans and all of those in need. Founded in 1974 to advocate for equal rights, AAFE has transformed in the past four decades to become one of New York City’s preeminent housing, social service, and community development organizations. AAFE is committed to preserving housing throughout New York City and to providing new opportunities for the city’s diverse immigrant communities. AAFE organizes its key activities into several lines of business: Homeownership Promotion, Preservation and Lending; Small Business Promotion, Development and Lending; Real Estate Development; Asset/Property Management and Community Building, Planning and Organizing.

AAFE has assets of approximately $124 million and a $16 million annual operating budget; yearly grant-making is currently in the $2.9 million range. Total AAFE staff equals 140 professionals, located in offices: in Chinatown and the Lower East Side, Flushing, Queens and Jackson Heights, Queens. The Director of Real Estate Development will be based in AAFE’s headquarters at 2 Allen St. in Chinatown, New York City. He/she will travel as necessary and be a vibrant and known leader, overseeing  AAFE’s real estate portfolio, assets and staff based in multiple locations.


  • Real Estate Leadership: Provide day-to-day leadership for the management and operations of AAFE’s entire portfolio, consisting of real estate development, rehabilitation and asset management. The Director of Real Estate Development will apply his/her significant experience in underwriting affordable housing and in securing federal, state and local financing, preferably in New York State, City and its Boroughs. He/she will lead public/private partnerships and complex affordable housing projects from the initiation phase through to completion. He/she will design, implement and manage an extensive real estate portfolio and assets (including overseeing underwriting and funding relationships, processes and sources) and leading a high-performing team of real estate and banking professionals responsible for multiple programs and services, including: affordable housing and commercial development projects, property management and tenant services and housing policy and advocacy.  He/she will advance AAFE’s mission of strengthening the communities AAFE serves via affordable housing, community and commercial developments. He/she will provide input and leadership to promote AAFE’s strategic mission, vision and values.
  • Extensive Real Estate Knowledge: Reporting to and serving as a strategic partner to AAFE’s Co-Executive Directors and its Board and as a member of the Senior Leadership Team, the Director of Real Estate Development will lead initial planning, financing and funding  of real estate projects through to the end of construction, including vacant and occupied building rehabilitation, new construction, multi- family rental, mixed-use buildings and community facilities. He/she will provide counsel to AAFE leadership on managing and growing AAFE’s real estate portfolio, assets and function and ensuring full compliance with all necessary federal, state and city regulations and requirements.
  • Strategy and Implementation: Partner with AAFE leadership to create and implement the new strategic vision and direction for AAFE’s existing and future real estate portfolio and assets. The Director of Real Estate Development will apply his/her knowledge, expertise and experience in identifying and overseeing key public/private partnerships for AAFE.  In order to add value to this core part of AAFE’s enterprise, he/she will direct all staff dedicated to real estate development and manage architects, engineers, consultants, contractors and tenants during pre-development through to the end of project construction. He/she will also actively manage RE project closings, working with attorneys, title companies, banks, city agencies and any others involved in bringing projects to  successful completion.
  • Property Management: Direct the property management office to transition housing development projects to the asset management team, working with the marketing team on tenant selection for vacant housing units. Drive analysis of potential development sites for land-use, site capacity, target populations, program elements and financial feasibility. The Director of Real Estate Development will write funding proposals for housing and community development projects.  
  • Real Estate Administration: Ensure accurate and up-to-date record-keeping for real estate project financing, from pre-development financing, construction phase requisitions, post-completion permanent conversion, and prepare records and data for reporting to the Co-Executive Directors, the Board and senior staff as needed.
  • Real Estate Portfolio Communication: Create, recommend and implement agendas and keep minutes for Board Real Estate Committee meetings and provide on-going updates regarding AAFE’s real estate portfolio and assets to the Co-Executive Directors and the Board as necessary. Under the direction of the Co-Executive Directors and Board, represent  AAFE as an organization and all of its key real estate projects, holdings and assets at public meetings and in interactions with partner agencies and financing institutions.
  • Coaching: Coach, counsel, and be a sounding board to all AAFE employees who work on real estate projects. Provide an effective support system for employees to share their concerns and to seek advice on solving problems..
  • Physical Environment: Work closely with the Co-Executive Directors and the Director of HR to ensure that the physical work environment  reinforces the most up-to-date approaches for fostering increased communication and collaboration among all AAFE staff located in multiple locations. Coordinate and contribute to company-wide events, adding value and substance as a senior member of AAFE’s staff.  


The Director of REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT will have or be:   

1) Superior management and supervisory experience in a highly collaborative and dynamic organization, directing or leading a complex and sophisticated real estate development strategy including: funding and financing, management of  RE team and implementation of goals and action plans with demonstrated results. A commitment to ensuring best-in-class real estate projects, programs and services. Stays abreast of changing government regulations, funding and policy requirements.  AAFE is seeking a manager who has led professional teams of different sizes and will seek to mentor and develop his/her staff.

2) Deep experience with real estate project coordination from the pre-development stage, to securing funding and financing, to loan closing and management of all construction phases through to the transition of the project to asset management. Knowledge of and experience with New York State, City and local real estate projects and programs essential. Able to handle multiple RE projects with vastly different milestones, timetables, budgets and goals. Hands-on experience on the development side of real estate. A strong preference for candidates with experience working with government agencies and private housing financing agencies.. Experience working for a developer and completing a real estate project from beginning to end, with construction and consultant management roles.

3) Strong knowledge and expertise in all areas of real estate projects that require sophisticated underwriting and financing from federal, state and local agencies, financial institutions and leaders in both public and private organizations. Experience should include handling multiple, complex real estate transactions and negotiations with banks, tax credit syndicators, federal, state and local government agencies (especially in New York City and New York State), regulators and stakeholders, and ensuring that each project is aligned with AAFE’s overall mission, vision and strategic goals. He/she should have extensive experience with construction management, architecture, urban planning and design, zoning, real estate finance, engineering, property/asset management, environmental policy and tenant-landlord housing laws and regulations. AAFE is seeking candidates who have worked on real estate projects with a diversity of scale – having managed smaller projects (of about 50 units and below) and much larger projects in partnership with other developers.   

4)  Excellent leadership, interpersonal skills and communication skills, and an ability to build and maintain strong, productive relationships with housing development agencies, NYC and NYS housing agencies, lenders, investor, elected officials, RE brokers, other RE developers, architects, engineers, general contractors and the ability to inspire these key stakeholders to achieve high-level services. AAFE is seeking candidates who have experience managing and participating as both lead developer or minority-stake partner – public and private partnerships. Will be called on to participate in key AAFE policy and advocacy activities in support of the organization’s mission and work.

5) Establish and sustain strong rapport and understanding of the communities that AAFE serves and of the tenants who live in AAFE properties — and have a keen ability to manage the sensitivities and needs of these communities and tenants. Plays a key role as an advocate for responsible, affordable housing development and management.

6) Excellent problem-solving skills and approaches his/her work with an entrepreneurial spirit, knowing that real estate development requires  “out-of-the-box” thinking, as each project has its own unique goals, challenges, obstacles and complexities. Has the ability to remain grounded and provides a strong sense of calm in the face of these circumstances and understands how to create and deliver real world solutions. Employs creativity to break free from established structures and past practices and tries new approaches to solving problems.  

7) Strong financial, mathematical and analytical abilities and understands and has the capacity to oversee complex project development underwriting and the creation of funding program-compliant pro formas.

8) Strong presentation skills with a track record of success in presenting affordable housing and real estate policy and advocacy positions to senior management and diverse  stakeholders, and also different goals and needs (such as : the NYC Council, Borough Presidents, City Planning Commission, Board of Standard and Appeals, community boards, Town Halls and various City, State and Federal agencies and officials).

9) Superior organizational skills with a demonstrated ability to prioritize his/her own projects and assignments and also inspire and manage others to deliver high-quality work on time and within budget. Works effectively on an independent basis , as well as in a team-oriented, collaborative, and collegial environment. Able to balance the desire for collaboration with the need for efficient and effective business practices.  

10) Excellent writing skills including the ability to craft RFP’s and grants to secure financing from multiple sources: government, banks and foundations. Has a track record of success in being selected and for winning bids for key real estate projects.

11) Ability to maximize the effective use of up-to-date technology.

12) Has a professional and approachable demeanor with a keen ability to listen deeply. Leads by treating others with respect, dignity and openness. Employs a high level of sensitivity, appreciation, and commitment to diversity. Possesses a high degree of emotional intelligence and self-awareness and has a self-reflective nature to the work he/she performs and the people he/she interacts with on a regular basis.

13) Eight or more years of experience in real estate development, urban planning, architecture, construction, real estate financing and property management desired with some of those years as a team leader in a dynamic, evolving organization.  A bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree in real estate development, planning or finance is required.

14) Strong preference for candidates with fluency in multiple languages, including: Chinese, Korean and Spanish. Experience working with minority and immigrant communities and a familiarity with AAFE’s service area neighborhoods: Chinatown, NYC; Sunset Park, Brooklyn and Flushing, Queens is strongly preferred.   

AAFE seeks a diverse pool of candidates. Salary is negotiable and will be commensurate with your level of expertise and experience. Strong preference will be given to applicants who live or have experience and/or knowledge about the neighborhoods AAFE serves: Chinatown and the Lower East Side of NYC, Flushing, Queens and Sunset Part, Brooklyn. The Director of Real Estate Development will be based in the AAFE’s headquarters at 2 Allen Street in Chinatown, New York City.

Applications, which must include a cover letter explaining your reasons for your interest in this position and joining AAFE, and your salary requirements and/or any candidate referrals, should be sent to the attention of Rosemarie Bruno of People Strategies, Inc. at: