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Housing, infrastructure top CRE agenda

By Holly Dutton

Housing and infrastructure topped a list of hot topics city real estate executives want Mayor Bill de Blasio to focus on.

MICHAEL LEHRMAN
MICHAEL LEHRMAN

Asked at last week’s Young Jewish Professionals Deal Makers Summit what they would talk to the mayor about, speakers were unanimous.

“There’s a real shortage of affordable housing. We can’t just have housing for very wealthy people,” said David Schonbraun, co-chief investment officer at SL Green Realty.
Schonbraun was joined on the panel by Brahm Cramer, from Alliance Bernstein, and Michael Lehrman, co-founder of CCRE.

The keynote panel was moderated by Andrew Jagoda, from Kitten Muchin Roseman, LLC, .
Noting the explosion of development on Manhattan’s west side, Schonbraun added, “We need to be able to focus on building more commercial. The city needs to be with top-flight cities that have had more development.” Cramer cited a need for putting things in action – rather than words. “We need clarity, in the city, there’s a lot of equivocating – a lot of talk about affordable housing but not how to get there. There’s too much ambiguity,” he said.

He pointed to a need for 20-25 year planning, pointing to the rise of neighborhoods that were formerly undesirable.
“The neighborhoods that are attractive today weren’t attractive 18 to 20 years ago,” said Cramer.

And keynote speaker and conference honoree Lehrman listed New York’s lagging infrastructure as one of his concerns.

“The infrastructure needs to be addressed in significant ways,” he said, listing airports and train stations in the New York City area as in serious need of upgrades.

He also listed affordable housing and upgrading density and FAR rights, which he said will increase and support more urbanization, which would draw more people to work and live in New York City.

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