On May 20, 2013, the board of directors of the Bed-Stuy Gateway Business Improvement District (BID) announced the hiring of Michael Lambert as its executive director.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Lambert brings many years of diverse managerial experience, which include directing a key New York Citywide community health care program of the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center, and most recently as executive director of the Jerome-Gun Hill BID and the deputy director of the Mosholu Preservation Corporation, which manages several community and economic development programs throughout the northwest Bronx.
Lambert holds a BS in electrical and computer engineering from Polytechnic University (now NYU Poly) and an MBA in health care administration from Baruch College-Zicklin School of Business/Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He is also a graduate of the NYC Department of Small Business Services – CORO Neighborhood Leadership Program.
“My goal is to build on the foundation that has been established for the Bed-Stuy Gateway Business Improvement District and add new programming and fund-raising efforts to further promote neighborhood beautification, public safety, and marketing efforts,” Lambert told Caribbean Life. “I also plan to continue to work with city agencies such as NYC Department of Small Business Services, NYC Economic Development Corporation, and DDC of NYC to continue the efforts to enhance the BID’s streetscape and retail mix, making the BID a premiere destination for all of our visitors.”
“Having a Caribbean/Jamaican background has helped me to be able to relate to many different cultures,” he said adding “When I got the position I was excited by the warm reception from property and business owners.”
The Bed-Stuy Gateway Business Improvement District is the catalyst for the physical and economic renewal of the Fulton/Nostrand commercial corridor. The BID aims to increase and sustain the value of business, cultural, and real estate assets within District and to serve the retail needs of new and old customers by mobilizing and activating resources to serve businesses and improve and maintain the District’s public space.
As executive director, Lambert is responsible for overall BID program management, including planning, project management and economic development for the Fulton–Nostrand commercial corridor. His daily activities will support the BID’s mission to enhance sanitation, safety and promote the Bed-Stuy Gateway BID as a destination to live, shop, work and enjoy entertainment. Lambert will serve as the BID’s liaison to all NYC agencies including the New York City Department of Small Business Services, and will represent the BID with local community organizations in Bed-Stuy.
“We conducted a long and thorough search for a new executive and are just thrilled that Michael is as excited about joining the Bed-Stuy Gateway BID as we are about him,” Joyce Turner, chairperson of the Bed-Stuy Gateway BID board of directors reflected. “We expect that his prior BID and community experience along with his commitment will propel the BID to new levels of excellence. Lambert’s first day was spent walking through the BID and meeting BID members as well as meeting “Cleaning Ambassadors” from the BID’s supplemental sanitation services team. We encourage all of our merchants, businesses and residents to welcome Michael to the neighborhood and to support the BID’s goals for enhanced commerce, cleanliness, beautification and safety.”
Bedford-Stuyvesant has undergone many historical difficulties and challenges. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, crime and neglect took its toll and made the operation of a storefront business an often life-threatening proposition; fear of crime kept retailers and customers away consequently preventing property owners from realizing the potential of their investments. However, today, Bedford-Stuyvesant and its central Business District, Bed-Stuy Gateway, have moved from those challenges to become a neighborhood and a business district that has the potential to evolve into a lively and vibrant neighborhood filled with a mix of unique retail goods and services and restaurants. It was understood by merchants, elected officials, community organizations, and residents that this potential would only be fulfilled by the implementation of regular and active services that are typically provided by shopping center management or business improvement district.
The Fulton-Nostrand United Merchants Association (FNUMA), formed in 1991 as an association of dues-paying business members dedicated to “uplifting the community’s merchants through unity” (Hardy Joe Long, 2010). In 2006, FNUMA members voted to partner with Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, the nation’s oldest comprehensive community development corporation and leading organization in Bedford-Stuyvesant, to sponsor the creation of a Business Improvement District. Beginning in February 2006, FNUMA and Restoration worked diligently to ensure that the Bed-Stuy Gateway BID planning process was open inclusive, and transparent.
After three years of planning and organizing, the work of Restoration and FNUMA were successful. In late 2008, New York City Council approved legislation to adopt the Bed-Stuy Gateway BID as New York City’s 64th Business Improvement District and in March, 2009, Mayor Bloomberg signed the BID into law.