Seward Redesign Names Christopher Romano as New Executive Director
Seward Redesign kicked off 2020 by hiring Christopher Romano as the organization’s new Executive Director. Recently celebrating their 50th anniversary as a nonprofit, Seward Redesign is one of the last remaining neighborhood-based community development organizations in the Twin Cities. Redesign is also unique in their comprehensive approach, working across disciplines including: real estate development, creative placemaking, small business development, and infrastructure planning. Redesign works closely with the residents and businesses of Seward and other neighborhoods of the Greater Longfellow Community of Minneapolis.
Christopher Romano comes to Seward Redesign with extensive experience in economic development and community building. Most recently he was the Chief Operating Officer for the Center for Economic Inclusion (CEI), a multidisciplinary organization driving programs and policy focused on increasing racial equity in the Twin Cities. Prior to his time at CEI, Christopher worked as the Director of Strategy and Operations for a start-up division of Thrivent Financial, a Fortune 300 financial services organization. Christopher spent five years as the Executive Director of the Riverview Economic Development Association (REDA), a neighborhood based Community Development Corporation on Saint Paul’s West Side. Additionally, he served for two years with the Peace Corps as a small business consultant in Nicaragua. Christopher received his MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School, and is a Bush Foundation Leadership Fellow. He currently serves as the Board Chairman for the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC). He lives in the Standish-Ericsson neighborhood of South Minneapolis with his wife Kerry and their three children (Elena 12, Danny 10, Joey 10).
“I am thrilled to be joining the Redesign team.” said Romano. “I have followed Redesign’s work for many years and cannot think of a more exciting professional opportunity for me. I am looking forward to working with the many individuals, organizations and businesses that make South Minneapolis a special place to live and work.”
Romano’s role as Redesign’s new Executive Director will include managing the organization’s real estate portfolio. Redesign owns over 100,000 square feet of commercial space in six properties, home to 44 small business and nonprofits, 77% of which are BIPOC or women-owned and run. In the last ten years Redesign has also developed and preserved 776 units of affordable housing. Most recently, the organization secured tax increment financing for two new developments: Wadaag Commons, an affordable housing development for large families; and Bessemer Apartments, which will be the first apartment building without income limits built in Seward in 40 years.
Romano replaces Brian Miller, who has resigned to pursue new endeavors (not retiring!) after almost 18 years as Redesign’s Executive Director. Romano begins work at Redesign on January 21.