Henry Cisneros: building the heart of a city.

Author:Jaime, Kristian
Position:Interview
 
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For San Antonio native Henry Cisneros, the many hats he has worn should more aptly be considered several professional lifetimes.

The former mayor of the Alamo City may be a hometown boy at heart, but he has spent a career establishing himself as a champion for the housing and urban renewal that is vital to sustaining growth in American cities.

Since leaving politics after being appointed Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary from 1993-97 under President Bill Clinton, his is now focused on real estate development.

"CityView is the home building business, an urban projects residential company that has raised funds totaling over $1.5 billion. It involves 87 projects in 13 states, and we've made a specialty of building in core cities," said Cisneros.

While business interests have taken a national approach, the founder and chairman of CityView has never strayed too far from his roots.

Before making the move to Washington, D.C., he was at the helm of the seventh-largest city in the country from 1981-89. The unprecedented growth also has spurred additional funding for detached single-family housing and apartment living.

"Here in San Antonio, we're working with the area around Mission Concepcion in the southern part of the city, and that will be a very attractive apartment complex," Cisneros said. "I'm even invested in an infrastructure company that will be doing larger, non-residential projects across the country, including the VA hospital area in Cleveland. While I'm known for housing, as mayor, we invested in downtown, the convention center and flood control."

Yet his first love has always been municipal development.

That became evident while serving as HUD Secretary and was essential to taking his place at Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co., LLC. Formerly Siebert Brandford Shank, the firm is a full-service investment banking and financial services company that was founded in 1996.

Their services include everything from underwriting bonds responsible for city improvements to community assets responsible for nurturing an influx of population.

"As HUD Secretary, I traveled to hundreds of U.S. cities across the 50 states, and that helps us understand how we can help people with municipal matters like bond issues for schools, airports and infrastructure. This was a great opportunity to build a minority-owned firm," Cisneros added.

The unique perspective provided by developing and ensuring the next wave of community-based construction is more than...

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