Founder and Principal at Charney Companies
Where is Charney Companies going to be in 2026?
We are currently under construction on almost 2,000 residential units. They are a mix of multifamily rental, affordable and condos, all with ground-floor retail. Some projects, like our building in Gowanus on Nevins, have a tremendous civic component where we are tasked with designing and building a public promenade along the waterfront. We hired James Corner Field Ops of the High Line in Manhattan to design for us, and in addition to their gorgeous land- and hardscaping, we will be programming our portion of the promenade with public art that will hopefully create a real sense of place for New Yorkers.
To this end, by 2026, most of these projects should be completed and operational, and, if things continue to grow as expected, we hope to be building even more deeply and permanently affordable units to play our part in helping to solve the city’s housing crisis and make New York more equitable, diverse, interesting and livable for all who love NYC.
Where is Charney going to be in 2028?
We are New York City-based developers and we want to continue to ensure that the city remains a dynamic, diverse, exciting, safe, culturally vibrant and affordable place. To that effect we want to take our approach to building high-design and high-quality construction to more affordable projects.
Where is Charney going to be in 2033?
In a perfect world, we will have created some really dynamic public/private partnerships by then to allow us to build affordable housing with social services components. The problem with the current affordable housing programs is that they lack supportive services. So, while it’s important to house people, we need to make sure we provide all the other required tools to live a happy and successful life. Buildings with social services and support systems need to be subsidized for the good of all urban dwellers, and we would love to be on the forefront of this kind of development in the future.
Tell us about a successful financing in the last 12 months. Or about an unsuccessful one.
What a roller coaster. Financing basically came to a halt due to the 421a completion deadline of June 2026 approaching. Lenders were scared developers wouldn’t be able to complete projects by then, and the lending market all but dried up. Thankfully, Gov. Kathy Hochul created a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes program for the Gowanus neighborhood, which saved the recent rezoning and allowed lenders to jump back in because there was a state-run backstop in place.
We are hopeful this program or a renewed 421a program is established by the end of the year We are in the middle of a housing crisis, and should be embarrassed by how few units we have permitted in the past 12 months.
When will we know the market has stabilized? (Be specific!)
The market will never stabilize if we are building the way we have over the past 12 months. Cities around the world are building tens of thousands of units each year, and in NYC for 2023 that number is in the hundreds. How can we solve an affordability crisis and stabilize prices if we are building fewer units than the amount of people moving here?
How do you think the 2024 presidential campaign will impact commercial real estate?
I’m hopeful that whoever wins continues to monitor the inflationary environment, and that rates can stabilize to the point where builders can feel comfortable about the lending environment for the foreseeable future. I also think the current administration has done a really good job of stabilizing things both from an economic and political standpoint, domestically and internationally, and I am very afraid of us being set back once again if an isolationist — or, even worse, an indicted candidate — were to take office.
If you were to invest your own money in someone else’s real estate, who do you like and why?
I am not an LP. Period.
What’s the biggest market opportunity as we round out 2023?
Obvious: office conversions. When are people going to wake up and allow conversions to residential? We need serious rezoning efforts, and I know the mayor, governor and City Planning are working hard to make this a reality.
Who do you like for POTUS in 2024? Biden.
Do you feel personally safe moving through NYC? Of course.
Jerome Powell: Are you a fan or critic? Fan.
Can’t-live-without technology now? iPhone.
Elon Musk is …? A lunatic.
Taylor Swift or Beyoncé? I’m a Swiftie.
Artificial intelligence — good or bad? Downright awful.
Mischa’s or Nathan’s for a hot dog? Coney Island all day, every day
Netflix or Hulu? Netflix.
What character are you in “Succession”? Don’t watch it.