Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has selected Jessica Caffrey as the new Executive Director of Cook County Land Bank Authority (CCLBA). Caffrey brings more than two decades of Real Estate leadership and hands-on experience to her new role at the CCLBA and most recently has served as Deputy Bureau Chief for the Cook County Bureau of Asset Management (BAM). With CCLBA Board approval, Caffrey would officially begin in her new role on Dec. 1.
While at BAM, Caffrey has led the Real Estate portfolio for Cook County’s Offices under the President, which includes 234 unique properties that cover over 19 million square feet. A widely respected real estate leader in the field, Caffrey has a proven track record in successfully managing complex real estate initiatives and devising and implementing comprehensive strategic plans for property development. She has managed and executed real estate acquisitions and dispositions on behalf of the County, which includes negotiating and executing all aspects of transitions from valuation to long-term strategic planning.
“Jessica is the right person at the right time with the energy, vision and depth of knowledge to lead the Land Bank Authority into an exciting new chapter,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “I can’t think of a better person for this role, and I am confident that under her leadership, she will continue to ensure the Land Bank fulfills its mission, further drives neighborhood impact and builds equity and financial opportunity for both developers and homeowners.”
Last month, Land Bank Executive Director Eleanor Gorski announced she would depart her role at CCLBA to serve as the new CEO of the Chicago Architecture Center. Caffrey will build on the work of Gorski in which the CCLBA grew community wealth creation to $156 million and saw the redevelopment of its 1,000th home. Gorski will stay on in a leadership role through December 1 to assist in the transition of executive director duties and responsibilities to Caffrey.
“I am grateful to take on this new role and am excited to continue the initiative of stabilizing our neighborhoods by acquiring, holding, and transferring properties – not only effectuating change through bricks and mortar but also providing more economic stability, a stronger tax base and raising emerging developers,” Caffrey said. “For more than 20 years, I have worked with development teams revitalizing neighborhoods throughout Cook County and look forward to continuing and elevating the Land Bank’s vital mission.”
Prior to joining Cook County in 2012, Caffrey worked for the Chicago Housing Authority where, among other responsibilities, she strategically planned and coordinated the redevelopment process for the Oakwood Shores community. During this time, she managed a $200-million-dollar redevelopment program to create a mixed income community at the former Madden Park/Ida B. Wells site and Altgeld Gardens – creating more than 1,800 housing units in the process.
“As the Land Bank enters its 10th year and has transformed more than 1,000 vacant properties into community assets, created a cohort of local developers and forged impactful partnerships with community partners, President Preckwinkle has chosen a leader with the experience, energy and heart to meet the mission and opportunity of the Cook County Land Bank Authority,” said Bridget Gainer, Cook County Commissioner and Chair of the CCLBA Board. “I look forward to working with Jessica to ensure residents across Cook County have access to invest in their communities.”
Caffrey received her bachelor’s degree from DePaul University and her Master of Science in Real Estate from Roosevelt University. She is also an alumni fellow of the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy’s prestigious Civic Leadership Academy.