421a Stalemate Over: Agreement Between REBNY and BCTC Paves Way to Reinstatement of Program

An agreement on a key component to the renewal of the 421a program was reached yesterday between the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) and The Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York (BCTC). The program expired last January, after REBNY and BCTC failed to reach an agreement on minimum wages for construction work on projects benefiting from the program.

The agreement calls for eligible buildings in Manhattan to pay on average an hourly wage of $60 (includes wages and benefits), with eligible buildings in Brooklyn and Queens paying an hourly wage of $45. The minimum wage obligation would apply to buildings with 300 rental units or more in Manhattan south of 96th Street and in Brooklyn and certain part of Queens Community Boards 1 and 2, nearer the waterfront. The new deal would extend the length of the tax exemption to 35 years. In return, affordable apartments must stay affordable for 40 years, up from 35 years.

Reinstating the 421a program would require legislation be passed in Albany. Governor Cuomo has released a statement endorsing the deal reached between REBNY and BCTC and has called upon the Legislature to return to Albany to “pass desperately needed affordable housing.”

We are following these ongoing developments very closely and will keep you updated.

Crain’s 2016 New York City Summit: Getting Ready for 9 Million New Yorkers

On the morning of November 1st, at the Sheraton Times Square, Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke to a diverse business crowd about the ever growing population of our City – trumpeting the fact that at 8.55 million, NYC has never been bigger. The Mayor discussed “diversifying the economy,” including using City resources to incentivize a “five-borough economy” with involvement of the City in encouraging “advanced manufacturing,” real estate development and upcoming rezoning initiatives. The Mayor also spoke about the need to build trust in neighborhoods and stressed efforts being made to inform communities that development isn’t happening to them, “but by them and for them.” He added that many of those who live in these developing neighborhoods look at development “through the prism of past (and not good) experiences” but by building trust through “guaranteeing that developers do what they promised,” their attitudes would be able to change as well.

Mitch Korbey to speak at the AREAA East Meets West Conference

emwIn the Zone: Biggest Changes coming to New York

Mitch Korbey will speak on a panel that will consider zoning changes made under the Bloomberg and de Blasio administrations, which are enhancing real estate development opportunities in the Midtown East area of Manhattan and New York City’s outer boroughs. For more information, click here.

November 1, 2016

Speakers Include:

  • Bennet Dunkley (Principal, Vice President, Helpern Archtects)
  • Robin A. Kramer (Duval Stachenfeld)
  • William Silverman (Managing Director / Group Head of Investment Sales, Hodges Ward Elliott)
  • Mitch Korbey (Partner and Chair, Land Use & Zoning Group, Herrick, Feinstein LLP)

Long Island City – State of the Market – Conference Recap

On Thursday October 27th Mitch Korbey, Chair of Herrick’s Land Use & Zoning Practice, lead a conversation with Shibber Khan (Criterion Group), Seth Pinsky (RXR), Rachel Loeb (World Wide Group),  Steve Klein (Brickman) and Elizabeth Lusskin (President, LIC Partnership) on The Stabilization of a “New” Community for Bisnow.

On location in LIC, the panel covered the progress and the challenges of the development of the three distinct sections of the neighborhood. Development of true mixed-use buildings, street art, safety and the walk-ability of the neighborhood were all covered by the excellent speakers. It clear to see that development continues in this ever growing “new” neighborhood. Click here for Bisnow’s full coverage of the event.


L-R: Seth Pinsky, Rachel Loeb, Steve Klein, Elizabeth Lusskin, Shibber Khan and Mitch Korbey

Land Use & Zoning Alert: Department of City Planning Releases Framework for Proposed East Harlem Rezoning

The New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) has released its proposed framework for the rezoning of East Harlem. East Harlem is one of the seven neighborhoods identified by the administration for increases to residential density which would be subject to the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing requirements adopted in March 2016. DCP proposes to significantly upzone portions of Park, Second and Third Avenues, with buildings having the potential to reach up to 30 stories. We are actively following this proposal, which is expected to enter public review in April 2017, and will keep you updated.

Should have any questions generally, or about a specific project site, please contact Mitch Korbey or Anne McCaughey.

Mitch Korbey Moderates a Panel of Heavy Hitters at Bisnow’s LIC State of the Market

korbey_m_squareOn Thursday morning October 27th, Mitch Korbey will be moderating a panel on the State of the Market in LIC at Bisnow’s fall event. Speakers include Shibber Khan (Criterion), Seth Pinsky (RXR), Rachel Loeb (World Wide) and Steve Klein (Brickman).

“It’s a solid, growing residential community and it can field a team with the Mets players living there, but it needs to mature as a live/work community, and I’m not sure it’s there yet,” he tells Bisnow.


Could You Be Fined for Hanging Illuminated Halloween Décor?

Potentially, yes. If you live in certain areas of New York City, you may be fined if you hang illuminated Halloween signs on your property that are higher than 40 feet above curb level. This is based on a ruling last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which affirmed a decision from Judge Jed Rakoff in the Southern District of New York – namely that a Manhattan resident’s first amendment rights were not violated when she was fined $800 for not abiding by New York City’s zoning regulations.

Political and holiday signs are typically temporary, so usually the City will look the other way – unless you live in a neighborhood of one- and two-family homes. This woman hung an illuminated peace sign in her apartment window at the Ansonia, on Broadway between 73rd and 74th Streets.  While I am not sure why the Department of Buildings singled out this apartment –  it could have been the year and a half that she had hung her peace sign – I don’t think the DOB would pursue residents who hang holiday décor for a short period of time.

De Blasio administration considers major changes to NYC’s air-rights policy

Welcome back to the Herrick Zone.  We have a new editor and intend to revitalize the blog to keep you current on news and updates that involve land use and zoning issues.

De Blasio administration considers major changes to NYC’s air-rights policy

Herrick’s Land Use & Zoning team will be monitoring the developments of the De Blasio Administration as they consider policy recommendations in the near future over the city’s air rights. If the city decides to adopt any reforms, they would fall into two broad areas that were discussed at a meeting with city officials and stakeholders on September 30th. The first would involve private transactions, which allow developers to buy unused square footage from owners on the same block. The second area of discussion concerned landmarked buildings as owners often have the right to build much bigger structures but can’t because of the building’s protected status.

For the full article on Crain’s New York click here.

Please continue to follow this blog for updates and information.

Bisnow: Long Island City State of the Market

27, 2016 at 7:30am
Mitch Korbey will moderate a panel at Bisnow’s Long Island City State of the Market. Panelists at the annual event will explore the challenges, excitement and market forces behind the meteoric rise of Long Island City. For more information, click here.

Young Jewish Professionals: Dealmakers Summit

The Young Jewish Professionals hosted their annual Real Estate Deal Makers Summit at Herrick’s offices on November 4th. The YJP is a non-profit based in New York and focuses on providing business and networking opportunities for the new generation of Jewish Business leaders. The Real Estate Dealmakers Summit brought together high-profile panelists and industry luminaries at exclusive roundtable events which allowed attendees to gain direct access to leaders in the industry.

Belinda Schwartz, Chair of Herrick’s Real Estate department, held a “fireside chat” with Ziel Feldman, Chairman and Founder of HFZ Capital Group. Ms. Schwartz and Mr. Feldman were keynote speakers at the event.

YPJ Belinda and Ziel Feldman

Ziel Feldman and Belinda Schwartz

Ms. Schwartz asked, “What important skill, or set of skills, should a real estate professional have in order to be successful?” Mr. Feldman responded, “You have to know the trends, nationally and internationally. You also have to know your customer, whether it’s a tenant or buyer, it’s important to know the goals of your customer for every transaction.”

In response to the question about how to handle a busy schedule and extensive network, Mr. Feldman said, “I am lucky. I have two sons who entered the business. I think the main thing is to know when to delegate. You need to have good partners you can rely on which means you need to know how to surround yourself with people you can trust. There has to be a balance. Work isn’t everything. There should be a healthy balance of family, charity and work.”

When asked to discuss one of the most exciting deals he has ever worked on, Mr. Feldman said, “The Rock & Roll amusement park in Myrtle Beach. It was a great concept but it failed. We opened in the summer of ’08 and, because it was in Myrtle Beach, people would drive to the park. That summer, gas prices were insane so we were doomed from the start. Thus my point of knowing the market, studying trends and knowing your customers!”

“What do you worry about?” asked Ms. Schwartz. “Supply and demand mostly,” commented Mr. Feldman, “Places like San Francisco and Miami are economically as healthy as they have ever been. New York’s population continues to grow. There is a huge demand for housing. I am concerned about the aggressive underwriting that leads to downward pressure on pricing. It can become a self-prophesizing cycle. Real estate like art is a commodity.”

“With all this taken into account, how does one become Ziel Feldman?” enquired Ms. Schwartz. Laughing, Mr. Feldman replied: “You have to do it for as long as I have! But on a serious note, it is way more challenging to create wealth in the tri-state than in used to be in the past. You have to be a student of global economics, currencies, demographics and movements in other countries. What happens in China could affect a deal you are working on here, right down to affecting the cost of the drywall you are putting into your building. All these factors come into play.”

In closing, Ms. Schwartz asked what it takes to be a good leader. Mr. Feldman responded: “A leader has to be likeable and have the ability to delegate to people who are capable of carrying out your vision. You cannot create a successful development company and run it as a one-man show. It’s also a lot about luck. Sometimes being in the right place at the right time can make all the difference.”