REBNY 2016!


As of last Friday afternoon, the Real Estate Board of New York’s annual banquet promised to be your typical, run-of-the-mill, $1,100-per-plate affair starring 2,000 of the industry’s heavy hitters against the backdrop of the Hilton’s Grand Ballroom.

But as the day moved closer and closer to midnight, a lot of real estate pros looked on helplessly as the unthinkable happened: 421a negotiations broke down and the law granting tax breaks in exchange for affordable housing came to ignominious expiration despite full-throated defenses from the mayor, the governor and REBNY.

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For those of us who pay attention to REBNY’s dealings, this should make the banter at Thursday night’s banquet much more lively.

At Commercial Observer, we expect that this particular issue will dominate the conversation in the coming days and weeks. (See Tobias Salinger’s story on page 66.) But, we have to say, it would be a little unfair to limit the discussion to 421a with the myriad of other issues that have occupied REBNY’s time over the last 12 months.

2015 marked the end of an era for the 120-year-old trade organization when Steven Spinola stepped down as the president after 30 years and handed the reins to John Banks.

Mr. Banks—whom we spoke to with Rob Speyer, the chairman of REBNY (see Terence Cullen’s interview)—was new to the job, but he has put the organization on a very ambitious road. REBNY is supporting Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to cut greenhouse emissions 80 percent by the year 2050 (see Brady Dale’s story); it is doing its part for landlords of the 95 properties citywide who are stuck in landmarking limbo (which Liam La Guerre reported on); it won a significant victory in the renewal of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, or TRIA (Bill Rudin discussed it with us in our Sit-Down with him); and it made significant revisions to the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act, or FIRPTA, in December (see Lauren Elkies Schram’s story).

Hopefully, much of this will make its way into the chatter at the REBNY Board of Governors cocktail party to benefit the REBNY Foundation, as well as REBNY’s 120th annual banquet, both on Thursday night. While it might be tough to hear the speeches over the din of real estate banter and networking, some of the luminaries of real estate will be getting honored. We, too, raise our glass to Daniel Brodsky, Edward Piccinich, Steven Marvin, the Stacom family, Bill Montana and Jeffrey Levine.