‘How Am I Doing?’ Real Estate Owners Grade Adams and Hochul
Commercial Observer asked the 32 owners we spoke to for our annual Owners Magazine to grade the performance of the governor and the mayor of New York. To add an incentive for honesty, we promised to keep all answers anonymous. But here are their grades:
Few political figures in living memory have been greeted as enthusiastically among real estate owners as Mayor Eric Adams.
After eight years of constant griping about Bill de Blasio, in last year’s survey 78 percent of owners told CO they were supporting Adams for mayor. Adams ended up winning in a landslide.
So … how’s he doing?
We asked owners to anonymously grade the mayor, and, nearly 11 months into his administration, the Democrat’s marks are actually fairly middling. While many spoke admiringly of Adams, issues of safety and livability still worry most respondents.
“In general, Adams is saying all the right things,” one owner said. “And his instincts are good. But his follow-through has not been great. It actually takes tremendous hands-on management skills to run an administration that picks up the trash, that fills the potholes, that keeps the trains on time, and that makes the streets safe. So, while Adams is a vast improvement over the prior administration, the jury is still out with respect to his ability to deliver actual positive results and not just compelling rhetoric.”
Others graded him more caustically.
“We’ve got tremendous safety, transportation and garbage issues that must be addressed,” another owner said. “Kids, my own son included, who used to rely on public transportation are now frightened to get on the subway or even walk down their streets. Quality of life issues, like living with garbage on the street, must be taken seriously and addressed. I think the vitality of the apartment market has made the mayor blind to these issues — or not worry about their impact. But it is just not good for our long-term economic viability.”
Kathy Hochul generates a lot of goodwill from commercial real estate owners.
“Gov. Hochul has what it takes to be a great leader,” said one owner.
“She has done well,” said another. “She has focused on what’s good for the state without the ego and the self-promotion of our last governor.”
That last part might be key. One thing that Gov. Hochul has going for her is that she is not Andrew Cuomo, whose bullying had gotten too much even for the famously pugilistic real estate business. As she stands on the cusp of election, many have high hopes for her. “She’s going to do great things with a full term,” one owner said.
And many also seem to genuinely like her. “She has brought first-class leadership, professionalism and hard work to our government,” noted an owner.
However, the last year has been underwhelming to owners when it comes to the issues. “Having entered this job under less than ideal circumstances, it’s apparent she wants to do the right thing for NYC,” another owner said. “But as it relates to the crime and safety issues, I don’t think she’s been supportive enough of Mayor Adams and the difficult decisions that have to be made to get us where we need to be.”
“Kathy has the long-term potential to be a leading political figure of our time,” one said. “However, she must rise above the political establishment to act with strong determination based upon what is fundamentally sound fiscally versus politically correct and to serve the enormous social needs of NYC, including a well-thought-out plan for affordable housing.”