Maria Yglesias was born and raised in Spain. At the age of 20 she immigrated to the United States and attended Montclair State University. Although her formal introduction to business was as a clothing retailer Maria was always active in the world of real estate and construction mainly in residential rehabilitation work. In 1997 she co-founded M & M Development LLC in order to build Cathedral Homes, a mixed project of affordable and market rate housing in Newark’s Central War. M & M Development’s goal of building superior, affordable homes as a means of improving neighborhoods and the lives of people in urban communities was realized in two signature projects at opposite ends of New Jersey. In South Jersey, the Coopers Hill Development in Camden, broke ground in 2009 with a 25-unit condominium building in the Cooper Plaza neighborhood and was followed by a scattered site project of 30 single family homes in the same neighborhood. These projects were essential in establishing a “Housing Market” in the City of Camden. In Newark, New Jersey, the the Harmony Square project located at the intersection of Broad Street and Third Avenue East, in Newark’s North Ward, brought special needs housing, affordable rental apartments and luxury condominium buildings to a neighborhood that had been plagued by disinvestment and crime. The Harmony Square and Coopers Hill projects proved that housing that is well thought out, beautiful and affordable is in itself the most powerful instrument to renew and improve a community.