Meet BRA’s New Director of Real Estate

The City of Somerville’s economic development chief will serve as BRA’s new Director of Real Estate.
Edward O'Donnell

Edward O’Donnell

Boston—The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), Boston’s urban planning and economic development engine, has hired Somerville’s economic development chief Edward O’Donnell to manage the agency’s massive real estate portfolio.

In his new role, O’Donnell will manage the disposition, sale and leasing of more than 16 million square feet of property in an effort to optimize BRA’s real estate holdings and generate new revenue opportunities for the agency and for the people of Boston.

O’Donnell’s career spans more than 30 years, including two-and-a-half years as Director of Economic Development for the City of Somerville where he successfully directed a nationwide search and public engagement process to secure a master development partner for the planning and build out of more than two million square feet of transit oriented development in Union Square. During his tenure at Somerville’s economic development agency, O’Donnell also helped to attract start-ups at Greentown Labs—the area’s largest clean tech incubator—and bring collaborative work space to Davis Square.

O’Donnell’s ties with the BRA goes back to the 1990s, when he spent eight years with the agency.

“I’m honored and gratified by the confidence that Mayor Walsh and Director Golden have shown by offering me the newly created Director of Real Estate position,” said O’Donnell in a prepared statement. “My approach to the job is grounded in the fact that the real estate holdings of the BRA are assets, and they need to be managed productively, whether to provide new employment opportunities, new housing, or other uses. Our goal is to ensure that these assets reach their full potential, and I look forward to leading and contributing to this work with the team.”

O’Donnell will also work with the BRA’s leadership to improve transparency over asset management, with the goal of creating a publicly accessible and regularly updated report about the agency’s holdings.

Photo courtesy of the BRA