Mary Ann Tighe an asset to REBNY during tough times

As 2012 draws to a close, so does the three-year tenure of Real Estate Board of New York’s Chairman Mary Ann Tighe, the first female Chairman in our 116 year history.

Mary Ann was an exceptional Chairman and provided extraordinary leadership during difficult times for the real estate industry.

Her tenure was marked by many accomplishments for REBNY and the industry.

In East Midtown Manhattan, Mary Ann identified several long-term challenges for the area, particularly zoning impediments to build new iconic office buildings on overbuilt sites.

Mary Ann's advocacy is an integral reason behind the Department of City Planning's Midtown East rezoning plan. Rezoning East Midtown will invigorate and strengthen its position as one the world’s preeminent office districts. It will attract new businesses and will help keep New York City on competitive footing with other world cities.

Additionally, Mary Ann’s advocacy kept open the possibility for a No. 7 line subway station at West 41st and 10th Avenue in the future. 

In 2011, Mary Ann joined many other REBNY members for the successful “Move the Trial Campaign” which succeeded in moving the Terror Trials for 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others out of Lower Manhattan to Guantanamo Bay.

This campaign demonstrated the power of combining the business and residential communities to identify security concerns and economic impacts on a neighborhood that should not have been asked to relive the horror of 9/11. Our members took action and their efforts paid off.

Also, while Mary Ann served as Chairman, REBNY successfully advocated for the renewal of two major NYC economic development programs, the 421a Program and the Industrial and Commercial Abatement Program (ICAP). Both of these programs are crucial to the encouragement of capital investment in new housing, commercial development and renovation, and help offset the heavy tax burden our real property tax system places on these properties.

Another important issue to Mary Ann was bringing technological advancements to REBNY. She created a digital presence for REBNY by calling for an upgrade of our website, forming a new identity on social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook as well as encouraging the hiring of a new media director to oversee those efforts. REBNY currently boasts more than 14,700 Twitter followers and more than 3,200 Facebook fans.

I commend Mary Ann’s hard work and exceptional leadership skills as REBNY’s Chairman. She was a big asset to REBNY during some difficult times to our industry.

In 2013, we welcome our new Chairman, Rob Speyer, the President and Co-CEO of Tishman Speyer, who represents another historic milestone for REBNY. He will be the third-generation of his family to serve as REBNY Chairman as well as the youngest Chairman ever. I look forward to Rob’s leadership for the next three years.

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. We will honor a distinguished group of industry leaders who have demonstrated noteworthy 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 you to get your tickets early. For more information, contact MaryAnn Aviles at 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 Click on Hurricane Sandy Relief link. Checks can also be made payable 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 or text “RELIEF” to 80000 to make a $10 donation.