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

The Lobby

Spinola Retiring From REBNY After 2015

Steven Spinola

Longtime Real Estate Board of New York President Steven Spinola will retire at the end of 2015, the Financial Times reported today.

Mr. Spinola, 65, has led the trade group and influential real estate advocacy organization since 1986, and he called the reports of his departure “premature” in a message to the organization’s board of governors while acknowledging that the recent extension he signed through the end of next year will be his last. Read More

guest editorial

REBNY Has Been a Loyal Friend to Preservation

A snapshot of the Soho Cast Iron District. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Landmarks are a vital part of New York City’s legacy and an essential part of its identity. Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, Greenwich Village, the Grand Concourse and Brooklyn Heights are each irreplaceable and distinctive elements that make up the fabric of our city. The members of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) proudly own and impeccably maintain some of New York’s great landmark buildings, and our office is in the magnificent landmark G.E. building. Read More

World Trade Center

REBNY President Steven Spinola Honors Larry Silverstein

L to R: Larry Silverstein, Steven Spinola

REBNY President Steven Spinola is praising friend and Silverstein Properties, Inc. Chairman Larry Silverstein for the progress made at the World Trade Center site and his various contributions to New York City real estate.

Mr. Spinola published an article in Real Estate Weekly yesterday highlighting and lauding Mr. Silverstein’s accomplishments encompassing “more than a lifetime’s worth of success” following the 82-year-old’s recent announcement that he would step down as co-CEO of SPI.

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REBNY 2014

Loud and Proud: Spinola on Hosting the REBNY Banquet

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While the venues and honorees may change for the annual Real Estate Board of New York banquet, some things remain constant. The raucous event, dubbed the Liar’s Ball, has developed and maintained a notorious reputation for its crowd, which carries on loudly over the on-stage speakers. Imagine the Blue Seats at Madison Square Garden circa 1982, only with tuxedos and more booze. Read More

REBNY 2014

REBNY Considers de Blasio’s City Hall

Bill de Blasio and Bill Bratton at Mr. Bratton's appointment as police commissioner. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty)

With the fate of millions of dollars in tax incentives and millions of square feet of office space in the balance, the city’s real estate industry is bracing for the impact of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s cabinet appointments. But the left-leaning Democrat who won the election last fall by attacking inequality and his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, has thus far refrained from tapping any nominees hostile to new development. Read More

REBNY 2014

Such Great Heights: REBNY’S Year In Review

1WTC_ViewfromNJ

As the city and real estate market continued its post-recession surge over the past year, a number of significant milestones played out under the watchful eyes—and in some cases careful direction—of the Real Estate Board of New York that will shape the future of the city for decades to come.  Read More

Midtown East Rezoning

Grand Central Owner Argues Air Rights are Undervalued

grand-central-terminal

Andrew Penson, president and founder of Argent Ventures, owner of Grand Central Terminal, is fighting back against the Midtown East rezoning plan, which Mr. Penson argues undervalues the 1.3 million square feet of transferable development rights acquired along with the rail station, Crain’s New York reported.

As part of the rezoning proposal, the city is planning to charge $250 per square foot for development rights allowing developers to build larger towers in the Midtown East submarket. The city’s price, Mr. Penson argues, is half of what Argent values the air rights at. Read More

Awards

NGKF Nabs REBNY Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Award

onenewyorkplaza

The Newmark Grubb Knight Frank team of Barry Gosin, Brian Waterman and Romel Canete was awarded the Real Estate Board of New York’s Henry Hart Rice Award for the Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Award at the trade association’s 69th annual cocktail reception yesterday evening. The deal, which was a lease for Morgan Stanley at One New York Plaza, closed in April of last year.

The judging committee evaluated 37 dealmakers across sales, lease and finance transactions over the last year. So impressive were the submissions, that a presenter at last night’s event at the 101 Club wondered aloud whether the authors of the submissions had advanced degrees in creative writing. Read More

Midtown East Rezoning

Public Review for Midtown East Rezoning Begins

Graybar Building.

New York City is beginning the public review process for the proposed rezoning of Midtown East, it was announced yesterday.

Our East Midtown plan provides zoning incentives for the development of a handful of new, state-of-the-art sustainable commercial buildings over the next 20 years,” said Amanda Burden, city planning commissioner, in a prepared statement. “This will enable this iconic district to build on its distinguished building stock and maintain a spectrum of commercial space for different business needs, including tenants seeking modern Class A offices.

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Retail

REBNY Issues Call for Submissions for Retail Deal of the Year Awards

times-square-theatre

The Real Estate Board of New York has opened the submission process for the Retail Deal of the Year Awards, it was announced yesterday. The awards recognize the most creative and significant retail deals in New York City.

Submissions for the awards are due April 25. Winners will be announced at the REBNY Retail Committee’s Deal of the Year cocktail party on June 11.

“It’s certainly the most prestigious award given in our business,” Peter Braus, retail committee chair at REBNY, told The Commercial Observer. “As retail has gotten to be more of a factor in New York real estate, it has gotten to be quite the market prestige to win the award.” Read More

Midtown East Rezoning

Coalition Releases Midtown East Study, Preservationists Balk

graybar

Midtown 21C, a coalition heavy on construction companies and labor organizations advocating for the rezoning of Midtown East, yesterday released a study evaluating the area’s historic assets and development history. The focus of the study was structures targeted by preservation groups for landmark status, which could hinder rezoning proposals.

Members of the coalition include the New York Building Congress, the Building Trades Employers Association, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, the Hotel Trades Council, 32BJ Service Employees Union and the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY).

According to the study, prepared for Midtown 21C by CivicVisions LP of Philadelphia, “New York runs the risk of undermining its competitive edge by revisiting issues that were covered 30 years ago when truly iconic buildings were landmarked. If landmarks are created solely for the purpose of opposing redevelopment, they jeopardize New York’s future.” Read More