By Sarah Trefethen
The re-election of President Barack Obama could be a very good thing for New York, according to SL Green CEO Marc Holliday — particularly if the federal government decides to help with rebuilding and reinforcing the city’s infrastructure in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
“Over a 20-year period, New York is perennially a contributor… this administration needs to realize we need a little of that back,” Holliday told the audience at the Real Estate Board of New York luncheon yesterday (Tuesday).
Federal funds could help with both near-term rebuilding after the storm and also major projects such as eastside access and the downtown transportation centers.
“There’s no shortage and no end to the infrastructure projects that New York needs to keep competitive,” he said.
Gary Barnett, president of Extell Development Company, warned the audience that storms like Sandy and last year’s Hurricane Irene will be more common in the future.
“One thing that’s become clear is, the government has to get better at protecting the infrastructure,” he said.
The two speakers shared other thoughts on politics, including the fiscal cliff negotiations going on in Washington.
Barnett predicted a solution to the challenge will be found eventually, but “by the year’s end? I have my doubts.”
Reforming the Dodd-Frank financial reforms and the Volcker Rule should be second only to the fiscal cliff in Washington’s priorities, Holliday said, noting that a stagnant financial industry is a particular hardship for the New York real estate business.
“They need to think about a lightening of constraint on risk lending,” he said. “Non-risk lending is perfect.”
Turning to local politics, both speakers expressed hope that the next mayor of New York will follow the pro-development lead set by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But neither was ready to get behind an individual candidate.
“There are several good candidates running, and as soon as we know who’s going to win, we’ll endorse them,” Barnett joked.