With an extensive background in real estate and finance, Scott Woosley has long understood the role the Michigan State Housing Development Authority plays in ensuring the state has an ample supply of quality, affordable housing for low- to moderate-income residents.
Now, as MSHDA’s new executive director, Woosley will guide the agency that promotes community development and affordable housing in Michigan.
MSHDA’s Board of Directors unanimously appointed Woosley, a Rochester resident who has more than 25 years of real estate and investment experience, to the post on Oct. 24. Woosley is a principal and one of the founders of Labor-Management Fund Advisors, a Troy-based full-service commercial and residential real estate advisory firm. He gave up his daily responsibilities at the company in order to take the MSHDA job.
Gov. Rick Snyder lauded the MSHDA Board’s appointment of Woosley, which became effective Nov. 1.
“I applaud the MSHDA board’s action and am pleased to welcome Scott Woosley to this important post,” Snyder said. “Scott is a great choice to lead MSHDA into the future, and I am confident his background and knowledge will help to effectively support the authority’s mission.”
Woosley succeeds Gary Heidel, who had served as the authority’s executive director since 2010. Heidel is returning to his prior position as MSHDA’s director of program policy and market research.
Woosley said he embraces the opportunity to oversee MSHDA’s mission of spurring investment in housing projects throughout the state, increasing homeownership and revitalizing Michigan’s downtowns and neighborhoods.
“I share the governor’s view that it is critical that we repair our core cities so that they are prepared to compete in the 21st century,” he said.
A key part of that effort, Woosley said, is the concept of “placemaking,” an approach to community and economic development that focuses on creating vibrant, interesting public spaces, such as parks and squares, commercial districts, and regional entertainment and cultural attractions. One of MSHDA’s priorities will be to continue working with Michigan communities to promote and support placemaking policies and to help forge public-private partnerships that will complete projects.
“Successful placemaking is key for Michigan cities because it will help them attract the entrepreneurs and talented workers that will build the new economy,” Woosley said.
Public and private partnerships are also necessary to create and preserve decent, affordable housing in cities and rural areas, especially with many commercial lenders still tightening their lending criteria on development projects, Woosley said.
“MSHDA has lots of tools at its disposal that can promote or enhance fiscally sound and viable projects that otherwise wouldn’t be developed without our involvement,” he said.
The authority’s loans and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds as well as notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. Proceeds are loaned at below-market interest rates to developers of rental housing, and help fund mortgages and home improvement loans. MSHDA also administers several federal housing programs.
Michigan’s current direction and strategies has the state well positioned to attract new housing investments from developers throughout the country, Woosley noted. MSHDA’s “AA” bond rating is among the highest in the nation, and MSHDA’s balance sheet is among the strongest of all housing finance agencies nationwide, according to Standard & Poor’s.
Woosley said a key focus in his new position is touting the state and MSHDA programs to the development community.
“I believe community development and economic development go hand in hand,” Woosley said. “Attracting new investors and creating new developments will help Michigan to maximize underutilized resources throughout the state, particularly in our urban centers and rural communities.”
Prior to forming LMFA, Woosley was managing director and portfolio manager for a $1 billion real estate fund. He has overseen the underwriting and due diligence for more than $900 million in equity, participating mortgages and credit enhancement facilities.
Also, on May 22, Gov. Snyder appointed Woosley to the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority, a seven-member board that promotes economic growth on the local, county and state levels through the acquisition, assembly and disposal of public property, including tax-reverted property.
Woosley holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from George Washington University and an MBA from the University of Michigan.