Real Estate

Eric Adams and Kathy Hochul make appearances at the REBNY gala

The real estate party drew many elected officials.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks at the Real Estate Board of New York's 2024 gala at The Glass House in Manhattan on Thursday.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks at the Real Estate Board of New York's 2024 gala at The Glass House in Manhattan on Thursday. Ralph R. Ortega

New York City Mayor Eric Adams delivered a fiery call-to-arms at the Real Estate Board of New York’s 2024 gala Thursday, asking the industry to deliver on affordable housing. 

The mayor also called on the industry to focus on what prospective New York homeowners are looking for when they search for a home. 

“Years ago, when I was a real estate agent, and Brooklyn was just trying to find its place and its voice, I would take people to apartments and condominiums and houses, and before they entered the place, they would ask me two questions,’How safe is the community?’ and ‘How good are schools?’ he said. “Those are the feeders of your industry.”

Adams credited developers for “an amazing job of making this city physically attractive to live in,” and noted progress with developments with new housing in Queens and Brooklyn. The mayor used the point to motivate REBNY into action, specifically on education. “Why am I still fighting for school governance? We have increased the reading and writing scores, and have outpaced the other states.” The mayor questioned why he was still being asked about School Chancellor David Banks’ appointment to the job, given such progress. Gov. Kathy Hochul has pitched extending mayoral control of the New York City school system for four years, but some state lawmakers have balked. “That impacts your industry, that impacts the people who occupy your apartments, your condominiums, your office spaces. You need to be leading in spite, or making sure I have the school governance to continue good growth,” the mayor said. Adams also was critical of the industry for not backing his opposition to the City Council's "How Many Stops," bill requiring police to file reports every time they interact with civilians. 

The event attracted a bevy of major political players, from City Comptroller Brad Lander to Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, to several members of the City Council, as well as members of the Legislature, including state Sen. Brad Holyman-Sigal. The state senator was in favor of a state subsidy to encourage affordable housing, and that it include protection for renters. When asked about Gov. Kathy Hocul’s proposal to replace the 421-a tax incentive for developers, Hoylman-Sigal said an agreement was needed between the Legislature and housing advocates and the industry. “That needs to include a subsidy to encourage the creation of affordable housing,” he added. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul declined a request to discuss her affordable housing tax incentive proposal to replace 421-a, when approached by City & State during a private photo shoot with supporters. She did speak publicly in praise of state Attorney Gen. Letitia James and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, and threw in a nod to her favorite Buffalo Bills. The governor's main message was urging the industry to begin a dialogue on building more housing and to embrace her policies set forth in her 2024 budget. "We have a housing crisis. If we don't start building now, we're going to lose to New Jersey," she told the crowd. "Now how does that feel everybody? Losing out to New Jersey?"