PEOPLE

Benjamin Warnke, Principal

Benjamin founded Warnke Community Consulting, the community development firm that grew into Alembic Community Development, in 1998, after a career in nonprofit consulting and real estate finance. Previously, Benjamin was a Senior Director at the Corporation for Supportive Housing and at the Enterprise Foundation. He also established and directed the New York Office of the Low Income Investment Fund, a national community development nonprofit financial institution. Benjamin serves as Clerk of Penington Friends House and as a member of the finance committee of the Friends Council on National Legislation. He formerly served as Chair of the Board of Brooklyn Friends School. Benjamin received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Yale University.

Jonathan Leit, Director, New Orleans Office

Jonathan is a real estate developer and urban planner focused on implementing redevelopment projects in partnership with community-based organizations. Since joining Alembic in 2006, Jonathan has worked in low-income communities to build joint venture partnerships with nonprofit organizations and to leverage public and private investment for affordable housing, nonprofit facilities and commercial spaces. In particular, he has financed the adaptive reuse of vacant historic buildings and brownfield sites into mixed-use developments, utilizing New Markets Tax Credits, Historic Tax Credits, Low Income Housing Tax Credits and other local, state and federal programs. Jonathan holds a Master in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a Rockefeller Fellow through the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Urban Redevelopment Excellence. He also services on nonprofit boards in New Orleans and was an Adjunct Lecturer in Tulane University’s Master of Sustainable Real Estate Development program.

MIKE GROTE, DIRECTOR, NEW ORLEANS OFFICE

Mike joined Alembic in 2008, and in that time has led the design and construction of more than $50 million of real estate developments in both New Orleans and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Mike previously worked for Mississippi State University’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio and an international NGO in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Federal Levee failures in 2005. His work on the ground has shaped his perspective on community development and design and the importance of community engagement and being useful to those in need. Mike holds a Master’s in Building Construction-Design/Build with a Minor in Community Planning from Auburn University and a Bachelors of Architecture from the University of Houston. He has also worked as an adjunct lecturer in Tulane University School of Architecture’s Master of Sustainable Real Estate Development program.

Mike McCarthy, Director, New York Office

Mike joined Alembic in 2010 and manages the company’s affordable housing projects in New York City from pre-development through construction. Previously, he worked in the international development sector at the Academy for Educational Development in Washington, D.C. and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan. While in graduate school, Mike was a Summer Development Associate with AvalonBay Communities and a Development Analyst Intern with Enterprise Community Investment. Mike graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in International Relations and Spanish. He received a Master’s of City and Regional Planning and a MBA from Rutgers University.

Jenny Marone, Senior Project Manager, New York Office

Jenny joined Alembic in 2014. She provides project management services, from predevelopment through construction, for the firm’s affordable housing projects in New York City. Jenny has over nine years of experience in real estate development in NYC, spanning both private and non-profit sectors. Most recently, Jenny worked in Design and Construction at Property Markets Group, working to help bring two projects through design, filing, permitting and into construction. Prior to PMG she worked at Clinton Housing Development Company, where she participated in predevelopment work, managed projects in construction, and oversaw commercial build outs and capital improvement projects. Jenny graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in Economics, and received a Master’s of Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia.

NICOLE NELSON, PROJECT MANAGER, New ORLEANS Office

Nicole joined Alembic in 2022 as a Project Manager. Her previous job was as an urban planner in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana with the main task of managing the disposition of properties transferred to the government after Hurricane Katrina. She successfully transferred all the publicly held properties to new owners with numerous building covenants that guarantee the community will have a growing housing stock for years to come. Nicole graduated from the University of California, Davis with degrees in Community and Regional Development and Economics. She received a Masters in Urban and Regional Development from the University of New Orleans.