Real Estate and Politics

Cuomo Disclosures Don’t Turn Off Real Estate Contributors

Governor Andrew Cuomo

While The New York Times’ three-month probe of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the now-defunct Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption raised new questions about a matter that’s reportedly under investigation by federal prosecutors, the disclosures didn’t alter the governor’s fundraising ability among members of the city’s real estate elite, according to campaign finance records released last Friday.

The day after the Times story splashed across its front page, key personnel at Fisher Brothers and Cushman & Wakefield showered the governor’s campaign committee with sizable contributions, illustrating continued financial support for the governor whose strong lead in the polls hasn’t shrunk following the reports that he shielded allies from investigation. Read More

Real Estate and Politics

Three of Five Developers Haven’t Cashed In Controversial Tax Exemption

99 Church Street

The five controversial tax break eligibilities for luxury housing developers that state lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo carved out for five developers in January 2013 legislation have sparked controversy, speculation and investigation, but only two of the developers have actually applied for and received the 421-a exemptions thus far.

The eligibilities for Silverstein Properties at 99 Church Street, Thor Equities at 520 Fifth Avenue, Friedman Management at 113 Nassau Street, Fisher Brothers at 78-86 Trinity Place and Extell Development Company at 157 West 57th Street reportedly showed up on a subpoena for the Real Estate Board of New York drafted by investigators with the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption before the governor’s office intervened. But three of the developers have yet to apply to the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and the other two received the exemption in exchange for building affordable housing. Read More

Real Estate and Politics

Critics Question REBNY Over Cuomo Disclosures

Steven Spinola

A week after a three-month investigation by the New York Times substantiated earlier reports that Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s staff shielded the Real Estate Board of New York from scrutiny before disbanding the so-called “Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption,” good government advocates called for the public release of all documents related to the defunct commission and raised questions about REBNY’s political sway.

REBNY President Steven Spinola hasn’t sat for an interview since news leaked on June 17 that he would step down by the end of next year, and the saga of the commission’s stilted examination of the 421-a tax abatements that Mr. Cuomo and state Lawmakers awarded to five developers last year has provoked queries about the nature of the prominent trade and advocacy group’s Albany activities. Read More

REBNY 2014

Postings: REBNY By the Numbers

The REBNY 118th Annual Award Banquet Photo by Steve Freidman

A jubilance not seen in years permeated the Real Estate Board of New York’s 118th banquet following a year characterized by several major victories for the industry, soaring rents and widespread development across the city. The politician-studded crowd at the Hilton included Governor Andrew Cuomo and new Mayor Bill de Blasio, along with a consortium of new faces in city government. All were treated to a REBNY banquet that once again boasted the feel, charm and spirit of the boom era’s glory days. Below are some facts and tidbits:   Read More

REBNY 2014

The Party Circuit: 118th Annual REBNY Banquet

18 Photos

REBNY 118th Annual Award Banquet

The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) rolled out the red carpet for its 118th annual banquet held at the New York Hilton on January 16. The exclusive event, touted as the industry’s most important networking event of the year, drew in many of New York City’s most influential industry leaders, elected officials and hundreds of the city’s top real estate professionals to celebrate 2013’s accomplishments and opine on the outlook for 2014, which promises to be another exciting year in real estate. Award winners at this year’s REBNY banquet were: Stephen L. Green, Chairman of the Board, SL Green Realty Corp.; Kenneth Fisher, Senior Partner of Fisher Brothers; Joel I. Picket, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Gotham Organization, Inc.; Robin Abrams, Executive Vice President of The Lansco Corporation; Thomas L. Hill, Senior Vice President of Boston Properties’ New York Property Management Department; and Robert C. Fink, Director of Leasing for The Winter Organization. 

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Garden Party: MSG Unveils Transformation

Chase Bridges

After three years and $1 billion, Madison Square Garden officials today unveiled the third and final phase of the arena’s transformation, a spectacular attempt to blend the venue’s rich history with modern amenities.

Flanked by Governor Andrew Cuomo, Madison Square Garden Chief Executive Officer Hank Ratner and The Captains, Willis Reed and Mark Messier, Executive Chairman James Dolan introduced the changes to a crowd of hundreds inside the arena’s newly redesigned 7th Avenue entrance.

“I’m a very proud New Yorker today,” Mr. Dolan declared to applause before beginning his prepared remarks. Read More


State Probing $10 Sale of World Trade Center Name


New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is reportedly leading an investigation into the 1986 sale of the rights to the World Trade Center name for just $10.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey sold the naming rights to outgoing executive Guy Tozzoli for use by his nonprofit World Trade Centers Association, which Read More

Lease Beat

Droga5 Ties Relocation to 154 Person Job Creation

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Global creative and strategic agency Droga5 will be trading in their Noho headquarters and taking the plunge downtown to 120 Wall Street.

The company follows nearly 400 companies from various sectors that have relocated to Lower Manhattan since 2005, Downtown Alliance noted. 120 Wall Street, owned by Silverstein Properties, is currently undergoing a capital improvement program to modernize its facade, lobby, elevator cabs in effort of attracting even more firms to the building. Read More


Muss Development Rolls Dice on Foxwoods Resort Casino


Just days after Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced legislation that would authorize three new Upstate New York resort casinos, Foxwoods Resort Casino and Muss Development have signed a partnership agreement to build a destination resort style casino and hotel in Liberty, New York.

The presidents of the respective companies, Scott Butera and Joshua Muss, have been Read More

concrete thoughts

We’ve Got Your Package Right Here


As the year draws to a close, I usually dole out holiday wishes for those who are either directly or indirectly related to the commercial real estate industry in New York City.

However, in a year in which politics has been such a central theme, this year’s focus will take stock of how our elected officials have performed and what Santa should give them. Read More

Power 100

“The Governor Is On the Line…” Andrew Cuomo and the Real Estate Industry

Andrew Cuomo, No. 3.

“The governor is on the line,” a top real estate executive recalled his wife telling him early one morning in his suburban home several weeks ago.

He remembered feeling a small spasm of panic as he cursed aloud—without realizing his wife was on the other side of the door holding the receiver out.

The man put the phone to his ear. “That’s what you say when I call?” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in jest. Read More