REBNY 2014

REBNY Banquet: The Rules of the Pregame

Michael Bloomberg and Mary Ann Tighe at the 2012 REBNY Foundation cocktail party. Photo: Steve Friedman

The formal dinner held in the Hilton’s cavernous Grand Ballroom is the centerpiece of the REBNY banquet celebration. But the preceding cocktail party in the Mercury Ballroom is just as lively despite its more intimate size—450 this year, compared to the banquet’s roughly 2,200. Indeed, invites to the cocktail hour are especially coveted by the wheelers and dealers in an industry that’s famously fond of status symbols. Read More

Year in Real Estate

Hold the MSG: World’s Most Famous Arena Gets 10 Years to Find New Home

Madison Square Garden Renewed

There had been rumblings for years.

Ever since the original Penn Station was demolished to make way for Madison Square Garden in the 1960s, commuters and architecture critics alike bemoaned the cramped subterranean train hub and the unsightly arena perched above it.

Then, like a spark, Michael Kimmelman, The New York Times architecture critic, brought the debate to the fore with a column in February urging the City Council to deny Madison Square Garden’s request to renew its permit to operate in perpetuity. With a request set to begin the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, it couldn’t have come at a more pivotal moment.

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Midtown East Rezoning

Midtown East Rezoning Denied by City Council

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s initiative to rezone the 73 blocks of East Midtown surrounding Grand Central Terminal was met with rejection yesterday as members of the City Council announced they could not come to an agreement on the plan.

“A good idea alone is not enough to justify action today,” Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Council Member Dan Garodnick said in a joint-statement released yesterday. “We should rezone East Midtown, but only when we can do so properly. After extensive negotiations, we have been unable to reach agreement on a number of issues in the proposed plan.” Read More

Wired City

Mayoral Candidates Weigh in on Tech Expansion: Bill Thompson

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Bill Thompson is the former comptroller of New York City and a mayoral candidate. A recent Quinnipiac poll found that Mr. Thompson is preferred by 20 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, narrowly trailing Bill de Blasio with 21 percent and Christine Quinn with 27 percent. In a Quinnipiac poll in mid-July, Mr. Thompson had only 11 percent of the vote. His recent success near the election date may prove that slow and steady actually does win the race. He spoke with Wired City last week about broadband and technology.

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Wired City

Mayoral Candidate Bill de Blasio Talks Tech

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Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is a proponent of equality. His approach has been slowly gaining steam in the mayoral race. In the most recent Quinnipiac poll of likely Democratic primary voters, Mr. de Blasio (21 percent) only trails Christine Quinn (27 percent).
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Wired City

Mayoral Candidates Weigh in on Tech Expansion: Christine Quinn

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Mayor Bloomberg has been a vocal advocate of moving New York City toward the center of the tech world, but with the end of his third term approaching, the future of his vision is in jeopardy, especially where it concerns broadband technology. Throughout the day, Wired City will be publishing a series of interviews with several of this year’s crop of mayoral candidates, asking each where he or she stands on issues regarding broadband and how best to upgrade the city’s aging infrastructure. Read More

Cover Story

Hostel Takeover: The Return of the Backpacker Crash Pad

Hostels See Increase In Business As Travelers Look To Save On Lodging

Jerry Kremer wouldn’t back down on the matter of bunk beds.

Mr. Kremer, a former New York State assemblyman and founder of Empire Government Strategies, is lobbying for the passage of legislation that would permit the licensing of hostels in the city and encourage their growth here. New York has never really embraced the hostel Read More

MSG

Christine Quinn Calls for 10-Year Permit for MSG

MSG

City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn has announced her support for a new Penn Station in a letter to Madison Square Garden President and CEO Hank Ratner, suggesting the Garden be granted a 10-year special permit to operate an arena of more than 2,500 seats.

In her letter to Mr. Ratner, Ms. Quinn contrasted the “thrilling moments” experienced by New Yorkers at Madison Square Garden against the congested commuting experience at Penn Station. Read More

Controversies

Another Setback for Joe Chetrit at Chelsea Hotel: Speaker Quinn Alleges Tenant Harassment

Joe Chetrit (Credit: Mathew Katz/DNAinfo)

The Department of Buildings ordered Joseph Chetrit to stop work at the Chelsea Hotel on Friday night, one day after City Council Speaker Christine Quinn sent a scathing letter asking the developer to do so, The Real Deal reports.

The order, the latest of a series of setbacks at the property, followed complaints from tenants that heat and gas service had been shut off at the site, leading DOB inspectors, a range of other city organizations and ConEdison to visit the site on Friday.

“HPD will be issuing violations for no heat and hot water and no gas as these conditions have not yet been addressed by ownership,” one city official told The Real Deal.

Once a mecca for bohemians, artists, writers and musicians, from Bob Dylan to Charles Bukowski to Iggy Pop, the famed “hotel” undergoes its own transformation, to the chagrin of some.

Ms. Quinn, in her letter, recalled the outstanding violation against Mr. Chetrit that was issued after construction workers broke through a tenant’s ceiling.

“You must stop this blatant harassment of your tenants,” Quinn wrote. Read More

Controversies

Campaign Finance Analysis Shows Real Estate Execs Buttering Up Multiple Mayoral Candidates: Daily News

Ms. Quinn has emerged as the clear favorite in terms of overall contributions from the real estate industry, having received $1.3 million

Did you ever uncover that your grandmother had numerous “favorite” grandchildren, or that your brother or sister was earning a bigger allowance?

If so, you might have felt like the city’s mayoral candidates as they come to realize that they might not be so special in the eyes of some real estate executives.

An article published in the New York Daily News shows that some real estate executives are throwing cash at more than one mayoral candidate in what critics believe is an attempt to butter up the next mayor – whoever it may be – to better suit their interests.

“Critics say it’s proof that some donors are not supporting a vision for the city — they just want a sympathetic ear from whoever wins,” the report stated. Read More

Mayoral Race

Where the Mayoral Candidates Stand

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New Yorkers won’t elect their next mayor for another eight months, but contenders seem to have been jockeying for position in the race since the moment Mike Bloomberg was elected to his controversial third term in November of 2009.

For nearly as long, the real estate industry has been chiming in on a rotating lineup of presumed frontrunners—some of whom have since dropped out of the race and several of whom have yet to officially declare their candidacies—and pondering the future of development in a city whose current mayor has been notably kind to it.

Here, below, are six standouts of the current crop of likely mayoral hopefuls; their notable positions on residential and commercial real estate issues as culled from news clippings, pre-debate roundtables and voting records; and the amount of money the real estate industry has thrown their way as of last month, according to the New York Public Interest Research Group. Read More

Controversies

Group Grades The Moinian Group With a Big Fat “F”

Moinian

Things could get rowdy when a consortium of elected officials including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn rallies near City Hall this afternoon to issue a report card to Joe Moinian’s The Moinian Group for alleged failings as a real estate developer and landlord.

The report card grades the developer – with letter grade “F” across the board – on tenant relations, safety, financial stability, vendor relations and the creation of good jobs.

“It’s going to be rowdy – we’re expecting hundreds of people,” said Jessica Ramos, a spokesperson for Build Up NYC, one of the groups spearheading the effort.  “We want to create public support and awareness for them to be a responsible developer and build buildings with good jobs that actually help the economy.” Read More