Cary Hirschstein


Cary manages pre-development planning for large-scale urban development projects, and advises on public policies and programs to support economic development, environmental sustainability, and resiliency.


As project leader for some of the firm’s most complex pre-development work, he manages large multidisciplinary teams through technical review, conceptual planning, negotiations, and pre-approvals processes. Cary is currently leading the entitlement of a mixed-use development on the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront. He has directed two Major League Soccer franchises in their efforts to locate and develop new stadiums in New York City and Miami, and oversaw the development of large-scale real estate disposition strategies for NRG Energy for a portfolio of decommissioned power plants. Cary led Macerich and AvalonBay Communities’ proposal for a 1.2 million square foot mixed-use redevelopment of the Willets Point District in Queens, NY, and managed the strategic planning and preliminary design of a shared biomedical complex for a pioneering new collaboration among five of New York City’s leading healthcare institutions.

Cary also serves as a trusted development advisor to a diverse range of nonprofit institutional clients. Cary has led the development of long-term real estate strategies for organizations such as the New York Public Library, City University of New York, the 92nd Street Y, the United Federation of Teachers, the Isamu Noguchi Foundation, and the New York Blood Center, among others. His work has helped institutions re-envision their physical spaces, optimize their real estate holdings, and lay the groundwork for future redevelopment opportunities.

Cary’s practice supports communities across the U.S. in their efforts to spur private investment and promote economic development, including work in Houston, Miami, Cincinnati, and Greensboro. He has provided strategic plans to promote new development and revitalize downtown cores, led economic studies supporting the creation of transformative open spaces, and advised cities on comprehensive economic policies to attract and retain businesses.

In addition, Cary advises clients on the economics of sustainability, including a focus on policy and program design for improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings. He has served as an advisor to the City of New York and the Urban Green Council, contributed to PlaNYC 2030, and managed the design and implementation of large-scale residential and commercial energy efficiency initiatives for the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority. His work has also included innovative research on approaches to financing energy efficiency improvements, and he supported the development of the New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation, the nation’s first quasi-public independent energy efficiency financing entity. Most recently, as part of the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program, Cary led the development of a community-based plan for improving the resiliency of Lower Manhattan through the investment of $25 million in CDBG-DR funding, allocated in response to Superstorm Sandy.

Cary holds a Bachelors degree from Cornell University, and a Masters of Urban Planning from New York University.

Member, Urban Land Institute

Member, Urban Green Council