Laura Aldrete, Denver International Airport's senior vice president for real estate, is Mayor Michael Hancock's choice to lead the city's planning department.
Aldrete becomes the first Latina to be executive director of Denver Community Planning and Development. She starts on Oct. 14, the Mayor's Office said in a Monday press release.
While working for the airport, Aldrete spearheaded real estate strategy for 16,000 acres of aviation-owned land and created a real estate division within the aviation agency. She was previously a senior principal planner for Matrix Design Group, which had a big hand in urban infill projects such as the 40-acre Broadway Station, slated for transit-geared development.
“Our focus is on equity, and Denver’s dynamic neighborhoods and communities should expect their planning efforts to focus on the people and places that make our city so special, as well as reflect the type of city our residents want Denver to be today and in the future,” Hancock said in a statement. “Laura’s skillset, leadership quality and career achievements position her well to take on this planning direction, and I have every confidence she will do an extraordinary job on behalf of the people of Denver to promote and ensure responsible, equitable growth in our city.”
Aldrete's resume also includes three years as assistant director for the Denver Urban Renewal Authority and four years as Hancock's project manager for the redevelopment of the former Stapleton International Airport, according to the news release.
As the planning department's executive director, she'll oversee land use and design plans and regulations, helping to shape the city's future growth, the Mayor's Office said.
“I’m excited to get to work with the department staff and our residents, and I’m ready to hit the ground running on implementing the vision that so many of Denver’s people have had input on so we can create vibrant, thriving neighborhoods in every part of the city," Aldrete said in a statement.
Evelyn Baker, who's been the interim leader since June, will return to her role as deputy executive director, the news release says. Baker replaced Jill Jennings Golich as the department's interim executive director, The Denver Post reported.
Jennings Golich, who left the temporary job to work for Adams County, had taken over after former executive director Brad Buchanan departed last year to become the CEO of the National Western Center, according to the Post.