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REBNY Watch

Two rezonings and three cheers for City Council

The approval of a neighborhood rezoning in Inwood and a tech hub in Union Square will help New York City continue to thrive for generations to come.

Inwood is Manhattan’s northernmost neighborhood bounded by the Harlem River to the north and east, and the Hudson River to the west. The thoughtful and sensible rezoning package includes construction of a two-acre waterfront park, various infrastructure improvements and the redevelopment of the Inwood library – which will include 100 percent deeply affordable units for the neighborhood and a universal pre-K center.

Most importantly, the proposal includes the construction of at least 1,500 new affordable housing units in a neighborhood that desperately needs them. At least 2,500 existing affordable homes in Inwood and Washington Heights will be preserved and protected with new resources to prevent displacement and keep apartment buildings affordable.

The rezoning will help alleviate the pressure on Inwood’s housing stock and provide relief for its long-time residents. In total, the proposal will bring hundreds of millions of dollars of investment to Inwood, which is great news for everyone who visits, works, or lives in the neighborhood.

The Union Square Tech Hub will help modernize Union Square and introduce a 21-story tech center to Manhattan. It will be a truly innovative space. Workforce development programs will be housed on the lower levels. Tech training non-profit and Microsoft grant recipient Civic Hall will be a major component of the building. Five floors will be reserved for early-stage companies and rented at an affordable space, while the rest of the building will be market-rate offices. The
pieces of the project are designed to help companies to move, both figuratively and literally, from the bottom to the top.

The two rezonings will help New York address its ongoing housing crisis as well as create jobs by inviting cutting-edge technology companies to Manhattan. The Council deserves credit for standing up to the usual crowd of Not In My Backyard
opponents who objected to both proposals. In fact, both rezonings were carefully planned and thoroughly debated. Without an influx of new affordable housing in Inwood, for example, long-time residents would have a much harder time finding affordable housing and would thus be at an even greater risk of displacement. Pressure on New York’s neighborhoods will only intensify as the city’s population grows – and those new residents will need homes, too.

Unfortunately, these are the dynamics now looming in Jackson Heights, Queens, where a plan for 120 apartments which included 30 percent of the units at below market rents was torpedoed last month after the local Council Member there told the developers to pull their application.

However, last week, Council Speaker Johnson and Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez and Carlina Rivera demonstrated leadership for focusing on common sense proposals that will improve their districts now and in the long term. The Inwood and Union Square Tech Hub rezonings will create thousands of jobs and thousands of units of affordable housing at a time
when New York needs both. In other words, the Council has prioritized the long-term interests of the city – and that is an outcome every New Yorker should cheer.

In Other REBNY News:

Waterfront developers from Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn will discuss their recent projects and their impact on the greater markets at REBNY’s Commercial Crossfire, “Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan: 3 Unique Views of the East River Waterfront,” to be held on Wednesday, September 5th from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. at One Seaport Plaza. Sponsored by The
Howard Hughes Corporation and moderated by Daniel Tropp of Ariel Property Advisors, the panel will feature David Von Spreckelsen, Division President for Toll Brothers City Living, Jeremy Shell, Principal at TF Cornerstone, and Saul A. Scherl, President of the New York Tri-State Region for The Howard Hughes Corporation. The discussion will follow the current trends and challenges in waterfront development, while each developer weighs in on what their future
vision for the waterfront looks like. Price: free for REBNY members; $20 for non-members. Register online now: go.rebny.com/WaterfrontDev.

One Month Left: REBNY Residential Brokerage Division Members are encouraged to review and submit their best re-sales, new development sales, and rental transactions for the Residential Brokerage Division’s Deal of the Year Contest. Members may also nominate their outstanding colleagues for The Residential Agent of the Year Award, The Henry Forster Award for Lifetime Achievement, and The Residential Rookie of the Year Award. All submissions must be delivered to REBNY's offices by Friday, September 14th at 5:00 p.m. Late submissions will not be considered. All awards will be presented at the 30th Annual Residential Brokerage Deal of the Year Charity and Awards Gala on Tuesday, October 30th at the Plaza Hotel. Buy your tickets now! Email ResidentialBrokerage@rebny.com to purchase a table of 10 at a discounted rate and/or to learn about gala sponsorship opportunities. Event proceeds support the REBNY Member in Need Fund, which provides grants to residential agents who have experienced unexpected illness or financial hardship.

Make it count this summer and join REBNY in collaborating with the Coalition for the Homeless, the nation’s largest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless men, women, and children. We invite REBNY members and industry organizations to join our 10th  Annual Summer Donation Drive by donating new t-shirts (large sizes preferred),
socks, and jeans. Donations may be dropped off at REBNY’s lower level mailroom, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., through Friday, September 7 th . To make a monetary donation, please email ResidentialBrokerage@rebny.com.
Join the ranks of dedicated REBNY members who advertise in the REBNY Manual. There is still time to showcase your brand in the 123rd edition, which will be published in January 2019.

As an added bonus, all advertisers’ websites will be displayed on REBNY’s public website for one year and at no additional charge. The REBNY Manual is actively used by members of the industry as a guiding reference on changes to New York City real estate policy, laws, and regulations in addition to REBNY’s By-Laws, Code of Ethics, and Universal Co-Brokerage
Agreement. A key tool for networking and outreach, it is also a comprehensive directory of REBNY leadership and committees, REBNY member firms and individuals, government agencies and civic organizations involved in real estate issues, as well as supplies and services that support real estate professionals. Share your message and claim your spot in the REBNY Manual for a nominal fee today. Sign up now by contacting the Membership Department at membership@rebny.com.

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