Staff Profile: Samelys Lopez, Project Manager

At Common Ground, we feel fortunate to have so many talented employees who passionately live out our organization’s commitment to improving the communities in which we operate. Case in point: Project Manager Samelys Lopez, a member of Common Ground’s Housing Development department whose commitment to a better New York City extends well beyond the workday.

Growing up in the South Bronx, Samelys used to wonder, “Why are there so many vacant lots in my community?” Now, as part of our housing development team, she is helping to make use of some of these same lots through the construction of affordable apartments.

After pursuing a Masters in Urban Planning and Real Estate development, Samelys was energized to “make a difference in how the community looks physically.” She was drawn to Common Ground “not only because we are experts in the industry but because this agency really cares about the work we do.” She helps keep our five-person Housing Development department on track with its numerous concurrent projects, responding to Requests for Proposals, coordinating closings, arranging contractor payments, and seeking out new development opportunities. Although she didn’t anticipate Common Ground’s recent growth spurt in the Bronx when she came aboard two years ago, she is “thrilled to be witnessing and contributing to the change” in her home borough.

Samelys’s work in creating a stronger city is not limited to her role at Common Ground. She co-founded a group called Velo City that uses cycling to introduce Bronx teens to issues in urban design, planning, and civic engagement. She is also as a member of her local Community Board and the Bronx Transportation Alternatives Committee.

These strong ties to the community make Samelys a valuable asset to the Community Outreach Committee for La Central, a massive South Bronx redevelopment project for which our agency is a key partner. Spearheaded by Communilife, the committee will engage with local businesses and organizations as the project progresses.

Excited about the affordable housing and community assets of our future La Central project, Samelys calls this latest real estate development effort “yet another example of Common Ground being socially responsible and responding to the needs of the community.”