Real Estate and Politics
Real Estate and Politics
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.
Real Estate and Politics
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.
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.
Governor Andrew Cuomo administration and park officials have reportedly struck a tentative deal with a developer to transfer unused development rights from Pier 40 in return for more than $100 million to rehabilitate the former cargo terminal.
A number of real estate executives have come out today in support of Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s plan to tax high-earners to fund universal prekindergarten and after-school programs, representing the latest group of executives to join a grassroots campaign called UPKNYC, Commercial Observer has learned.
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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
When Aaron Jungreis sought a buyer for the Bossert Hotel at 98 Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights last year, a long list of obstacles stacked up.
The off-market deal meant potential buyers had limited access to the site. Complicated zoning meant the Board of Standards and Appeals would be thrown into the mix. And competition Read More
As forecasters became more and more certain that a monster storm named Sandy was barreling toward Manhattan in the 48 hours leading up to its landfall on Monday, October 29, Real Estate Board of New York President Steven Spinola lay in a hospital bed recovering from a sudden medical emergency.
But the hospital stay didn’t Read More
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.
“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.