Melissa Burch is a risk-taker and innovator known to challenge conventions in urban real estate development. A key proponent of modular construction in New York City, Burch provided a real-world solution to the city’s affordable housing crisis. In her role at New York City’s Atlantic Yards, she worked for over a decade to assemble, entitle, finance, and break ground on the 6,400-unit mixed-use project.
In her new role leading Lendlease’s Urban Regeneration Program, Burch is tasked with reshaping underused spaces to respond to community needs. She leads the firm’s New York unit while also serving as Lendlease’s Innovation Champion of the Americas. By taking a customer-driven—rather than client-driven—approach, Burch is addressing social and economic issues facing residential real estate today. She also serves on the board of directors of the Henry Street Settlement, the Coro New York Leadership Center, and the Citizen’s Budget Commission, and is a member of the Real Estate Board of New York.
“Creating a sustainable positive impact on the community is a key factor in my decision making to undertake a new development project,” says Burch. “I believe the choices I make as a developer should be a positive force in advancing the pressing civic needs of neighborhoods and cities . . . economic development, housing, health and wellness, transportation, and social infrastructure. This opportunity to address a range of public needs through real estate is front-and-center, in particular in large-scale development.”