Larisa is an award-winning urban planner with a lifelong passion for commercial revitalization and a distinguished career leading commercial revitalization initiatives for public, private and non-profit organizations. As a child visiting family in Guayama, Puerto Rico, she often dreamed of finding ways to reverse the slow decline of the historic downtown she had come to love.
Larisa brings an unmitigated commitment to commercial revitalization, and over 20 years of national and international experience to her clients. Most recently, this includes the successful effort to establish Latin America's first Business Improvement District as well as the award-winning and design and execution of the City of New York's capacity building programs in retail leasing and leadership programs for commercial district practitioners.
Prior to founding LOA in 2008, Larisa served as founding Director of the Commercial Markets Advisory Service (CMAS), the in-house technical assistance program for the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), where she was charged with developing and executing technical assistance training and capacity building programs in commercial revitalization for LISC's network of offices and community partners around the country. While at LISC, Larisa also served as Director of LISC MetroEdge, an in-house retail market analysis service for LISC communities nationwide. MetroEdge is credited with fundamentally changing the discipline of market analysis for urban communities. Larisa continues to serve LISC MetroEdge as their lead East coast consultant.
While a Senior Project Manager at the New York Economic Development Corporation, Larisa led the inter-agency team charged with developing a comprehensive rezoning and regulatory framework for 125th Stret in Harlem to ensure the longevity of the nations' premier destination for African-American arts, culture and entertainment.
As a Watson Fellow and later Fulbright Scholar, Larisa has traveled the world investigating successful models of downtown revitalization, particularly in Spanish speaking countries, where she has conducted work in Guayama, Puerto Rico; Barcelona; Mexico City; San Salvador, El Salvador; and Santiago, Chile.
Larisa holds a B.A. with honors from Wesleyan University, and a master's degree in City Planning with a concentration in real estate development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Larisa teaches "Downtown Economic Development" at Pratt Institute. She is also the editor of the Commercial District Advisor blog, offering practical tips and profiling best practices in urban commercial district management, and is a frequent speaker and instructor on economic development in communities throughout the Tri-State Area.
- Commissioner, New York City Planning Commission
- Board Member, International Downtown Association (IDA)
- Lead East Coast Consultant, LISC MetroEdge
- Visiting Professor, Pratt Institute
- Eastern Division Alliance Public Sector Co-Chair, ICSC Alliance Program
- Author, "Improving Tenant Mix: A Guide for Commerical District Management Professionals," ICSC
- Co-Author, "Real Estate Redevelopment and Reuse," International Economic Development Council
- Advisor, Design Trust for Public Space - Energetic City Advisory Committee
- Advisory Committee Member, Regional Planning Association's Fourth Regional Plan + Economic Development Working Group Subcommittee
- Advisory Committee Co-Chair, One New York
Contact Larisa: email@example.com