Real Estate has backed Eric Adams, in large part, for his pro-business and crackdown on crime.
Former captain of the New York City Police Department, Adams campaigned on the idea that he was best equipped to put public safety first while making much-needed reforms to the department. His calls to overturn Blasio’s administration’s limitations on solitary confinement, however, have already drawn the ire of new city council members.
For the industry, focusing on crime is critical to reviving tourism, real estate investment, and the city’s economy as a whole. Here are five of the other policy and land use measures the industry is expecting from the Adams administration:
Start building conversions
The state legislature approved the Housing Neighbors with Dignity Act in June, a measure intended to allow nonprofits to convert distressed hotels and office buildings into affordable housing. But no projects have been launched since the bill was passed, in part due to zoning and regulatory issues.
During the election campaign, Adams pledged to create 25,000 supportive and affordable housing units through the transformation of vacant hotels outside of Manhattan, describing the plan as “a one-stop-shop to solve a multitude of problems. “. Details on how it will proceed remain scarce, but industry officials are hopeful the city will work to create an easier path for these conversions.
As for the recently approved requirement for developers of new hotels to obtain a special permit, Adams has expressed support for the policy, and the Council will not be willing to relinquish its new power to vote on such projects, a said Mitch Korbey, who chairs Herrick’s Land Use and Zoning Group and previously was director of the Brooklyn City Planning Office.
“Once you create a special permit, it is almost impossible to get the Council to agree to get rid of it,” he said.
Amend local law 97
Beginning in 2024, most buildings over 25,000 square feet must meet greenhouse gas emission caps. The 2019 law aims to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. Failure to comply with city limits will result in heavy fines for building owners.
The real estate industry has pushed, unsuccessfully, for additional means to comply with the measure. Adams did not come up with any plans to change the law, but he expressed concerns about the ability of homeowners to fund necessary renovations.
The industry hopes Adams will pave the way for homeowners to significantly and economically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings.
Adams’s track record in land use is mixed for developers.
As president of the Brooklyn Borough, he supported, albeit with conditions, Industry City’s zoning change, a proposal that was ultimately withdrawn because the local council member would not support it. However, Adams recommended reducing the height of a proposed skyscraper at 80 Flatbush Avenue by a third and advised against the Continuum Company towers at 960 Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights.
Adams recently gave his backing to the rezoning of Gowanus, reflecting his commitment to developing the city’s affluent neighborhoods to create affordable housing.
Cut the paperwork
Adams enlisted Melanie La Rocca, who served as Commissioner of Bill de Blasio’s Buildings Department, as the city’s first “efficiency manager”. Its power and responsibilities are not yet clear, but its mission is to find ways to cut costs and “go through every agency and every process to find those things that no longer make sense,” the said. First Deputy Mayor of Adams, Lorraine Grillo. at a press conference, according to the New York Daily News.
During the mayoral campaign, Adams pledged to curb government bureaucracy and lobbied for a more data-centric approach at the Buildings Department and other city agencies, similar to the CompStat program used by the New York City Police Department.
Work with the governor
It’s no secret that de Blasio and former Governor Andrew Cuomo didn’t get along, to the detriment of coordinating emergency response during the pandemic and various policy initiatives.
So far, Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul seem to have a much better relationship. Industry professionals expect Adams to play a key role in negotiations over the future of 421a, a property tax incentive for residential development. The program expires in June and the industry expects lawmakers to change it – or, at the very least, not let it expire. De Blasio made recommendations for the program overhaul in 2015, but Cuomo set his own terms, leading to a deadlock that wiped out the tax break for 15 months.
Adams criticized the old version of the tax break and he did not wade through the debate over his future. He did, however, promise to review the city’s property tax system in its first year. An overhaul, something other administrations have promised but failed to do, will require coordination with the state.
“To have a mayor and a governor who seem to be on a good relationship from what was definitely a bad relationship takes a lot of politics away,” said David Schwartz, of Slate Property Group. “A lot could not be done because of this bad relationship.”