Hopes high large building owners will get Sandy tax relief

Steven Spinola
President, Real Estate Board of New York

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the real estate industry and the City came together to recover, rebuild, and plan for the future. 

Of the City’s planning efforts aimed at addressing climate change and building resiliency, two reports put forth far-reaching and comprehensive set of recommendations:  the Mayor’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency and the City Council’s Building Resiliency Taskforce. 

The Mayor’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency report takes a hard look at what happened during Sandy, what can be expected to happen in the future, and details recommendations for rebuilding communities and increasing the resilience of infrastructure and buildings that are essential to our City. 

The study released projections about sea-level rise over the next 30 plus years.  The number of buildings covered by the 100-year flood maps doubled from 1983 to 2013, and it is believed that the 2013 figure will nearly double by 2050. 

Some of the recommendations to protect ourselves from the rising sea level and subsequent increased storm surges in the 400-plus page report include: a regional waterfront protection plan with integrated flood protection systems; new proposals to the building code so critical building equipment can be protected or raised above the flood plain; financial incentives for 1-3 family homes, affordable housing, and demonstration projects to increase resiliency measures; and proposals to improve transit and utility connectivity. 

To read the full report go to www.nyc.gov/SIRR and click on “Read the Report” on the left-hand side.

The other report by the City Council’s Building Resiliency Taskforce was comprised of over 200-plus members from government and real estate that developed 33 proposals for making buildings and its residents safer and better prepared for the next extreme weather event. 

The Taskforce took special care to find the right balance between resiliency measures and costs.  The majority of the recommendations focus on removing regulatory barriers to improving the resiliency of buildings. 

The 33 proposals are broken out into categories that seek to make buildings stronger, address backup power, ensure proper safety measures in buildings, and advocate for improved emergency planning.  The proposals touch upon the main building types, like: commercial, multi-family residential, single-family residential and critical buildings.

To see the full report, go to www.urbangreencouncil.org/buildingresiliency.

Finally, the recommendations and proposals described in these reports will be difficult to implement without some form of financial assistance.  To that end, the Real Estate Board of New York has been working with members of Congress in both the House and Senate to develop meaningful tax relief legislation to help cover out-of-pocket expenses incurred by owners and managers of large buildings affected by Superstorm Sandy.  We remain hopeful that this can be done before the end of the year. 

In other REBNY News:

Whistles and battery or crank operated radios are needed for NYC Seniors. REBNY’s Residential Brokerage Division partnered with the NYC Department for the Aging for REBNY’s Annual Summer Donation Drive 2013. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and with the summer heat, the needed crank or battery-operated radios will help keep seniors informed in the event of brownouts and whistles will allow for notification of emergency officials and neighbors during an emergency. Each summer thousands of elderly New Yorkers die in heat waves across the city. Donations will benefit New Dorp Beach Senior Center Friendship Club on Staten Island. Items can be dropped off at the reception area of REBNY, 570 Lexington Avenue, from 11 am to 4 pm Monday to Thursday and from 11 am to 2 pm on Fridays. Please include batteries with the radios. For more information, contact Jeanne Oliver-Taylor at jtaylor@rebny.com.

REBNY is asking members to log into the Members Only section on www.REBNY.com and view their profile to make sure information is accurate so it may appear correctly in the 2014 REBNY Diary and Manual. Also, there are still great advertising opportunities available for the Diary so don't miss this affordable chance to have your company standout among the more than 13,000 members included in the Roster of Members section. The deadline to purchase advertising space is Wednesday, July 31. For more information, contact Marta Posner at mposner@rebny.com.

The industry’s best residential deals are wanted for REBNY’s 25th Anniversary Residential Deal of the Year and Charity Gala. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 12, 2013. Your re-sales, new development sales and rental transactions that have closed or will close between Sept. 14, 2012 and Sept. 12, 2013 are eligible. The prestigious Henry Forster Award and Most Promising Residential Rookie Salesperson of the Year Award will also be announced during the celebration on Oct. 24, 2013 in the Grand Ballroom at The Pierre Hotel, 2 East 61st St. Tickets are $525 per person or $5,000 per table. Corporate sponsorships are still available. For more information, go to www.rebny.com or email Jeanne Oliver-Taylor at jtaylor@rebny.com.