Real Estate Critics of Mayor-Elect Out of Touch
Chris Havens Dec. 19, 2013, 6 a.m.
The overblown fears of an anti-real estate Mayor coming to power are just that, out of line and out of touch. A deeply practical politician and leader, Bill De Blasio will mostly continue the policy of leveraging large development projects while supporting the pro-tenant groups he must help.
While in the past he has made promises to our industry that he could not keep under the public pressure, he will be more careful now. Witness the brilliant campaign followed by the classy and diplomatic Mayor-elect period. Then look at the caliber of real estate folks that have supported him. A tilt towards inclusiveness, more desperately needed affordable housing and the hoped for end of one person rule in Planning should come as well.
The real estate industry remains a huge job creator, mega tax payer and philanthropic leader. We’ll be fine, especially in this updraft market. New York City needs the money!
Most needed from the Mayor are major systemic tweaks. End the starvation budgets for the Departments of Buildings and Planning and fund them adequately, please. Continual LPC jurisdiction growth without more staff is a classic unfunded mandate. Aesthetic decisions by staffers must be appeal-able and based on transparent guidelines.
Now that the DOB is relentlessly enforcing our truly subject-to-interpretation code, plumbing inspections are a costly nightmare. Inspectors have to violate jobs to show they are clean. Multiple inspectors are sent independently to prevent bribery and then violate each other’s completed signs offs! Builders should be allowed to have crews on hand to fix problems on the spot, rather than wait another three to six weeks for an appointment.
Mayor, lower the hassle and cost of building, create a broader group to make planning decisions, and get EDC staff closer to the ground so they know the markets they enter. And let’s keep building.
Finally, New York City boasts the largest and best collection of affordable housing in America, hundreds of thousands of units built or renovated over the last 80 years. The challenge of preserving them is enormous. What are you doing about it?