Industry plays important role in rebuilding after Sandy

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the real estate community’s involvement in city, state and federal government’s efforts to recover and rebuild has been essential.  For example, our industry is currently working with the government to fashion a housing recovery plan for those residents who will be without use of their homes for the foreseeable future.

The Real Estate Board of New York and its members have started to take active roles in several public committees formed, most particularly by Governor Andrew Cuomo and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, that are seeking to craft solutions to many of the issues arising from Hurricane Sandy.

At an Association for a Better New York breakfast last month, Speaker Quinn announced a Building Resiliency Task Force comprised of members of the Urban Green Council, REBNY members and other leaders in the NYC real estate community. This task force will take an in-depth look at how to better prepare our buildings for future storms and infrastructure failures.  The task force will begin its work shortly with plans to release recommendations by the summer of 2013.

On the state level, Governor Andrew Cuomo created three new commissions, NYS 2100, NYS Respond and NYS Ready. As commissioners, he appointed leaders from real estate, business, infrastructure, environmental planning, utilities, as well as emergency preparedness professionals and experts. Recommendations are due to the Governor by January 3, 2013.

NYS 2100 Commission is tasked with finding ways to improve the resilience and strength of the state’s infrastructure in the face of natural disasters and other emergencies. This Commission is co-chaired by Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, and Felix G. Rohatyn, former Chairman of the Municipal Assistance Corporation. REBNY members Scott Rechler, CEO & Chairman of RXR Realty and Vice-Chair for Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; Jonathan F.P. Rose, President of Jonathan Rose Companies; and Robert D. Yaro, President, Regional Plan Association were appointed to the NYS 2100 Commission.

NYS Respond Commission has a goal of finding ways to ensure that New York State is ready to respond to future weather-related disasters. This Commission will examine and make recommendations to improve the planning, training and resource commitment that must occur before the next major weather event in order for the appropriate deployment of people and resources to take place during and after the emergency or disaster occurs. The NYS Respond Commission is co-chaired by Thad Allen, Senior Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton and Retired US Coast Guard Admiral; and Brad Penuel, Director of the Center for Catastrophe Preparedness and Response at New York University.

Finally, NYS Ready Commission is tasked with finding ways to ensure critical systems and services are prepared for future natural disasters and other emergencies. This Commission is co-chaired by Ira M. Millstein, Senior Partner, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, and Dr. Irwin Redlener, Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. REBNY members Donald Capoccia, Managing Principal & Founder, BFC Partners and John E. Zuccotti, Co-Chairman, Brookfield Office Properties were appointed to the NYS Ready Commission.

Hurricane Sandy dealt our City and State a tough blow.  But, as we have shown repeatedly, we are resilient. REBNY and the real estate industry will continue to be play a critical role with the government’s recovery efforts from Sandy.  We will keep you informed on the progress of these three statewide commissions and the Building Resiliency Task Force.

In other REBNY News:

It’s real estate’s biggest night of the year for the 117th year running, the Real Estate Board of New York’s Annual Banquet on January 17, 2013 will honor a distinguished group of industry leaders who have had unprecedented success and demonstrated continued commitment to the city and the industry. This year’s honorees are Donald Zucker, Mike Fishman, Dottie Herman, Woody Heller, Dick Concannon and William Montana. The event will be at the New York Hilton Hotel. REBNY advises to get your tickets early. For more information, contact MaryAnn Aviles at maviles@rebny.com or 212-532-3100.

You can still donate through two funds created for victims of Hurricane Sandy. The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City set up a donation page for Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts on its website at www.nyc.gov and click on Hurricane Sandy Relief. Checks can be made out to: Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, 253 Broadway, 8th Floor, New York City, NY 10007. For more information, call 212-788-7794. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo created the Empire State Relief Fund, aimed at rebuilding and restoring damaged homes from Hurricane Sandy. To donate visit www.empirestaterelief.com or text “RELIEF” to 80000 to make a $10 donation.