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ABO to broaden its focus on NY quality of life.

According to the latest economic indicators, New York City has bottomed out of the recession. The days of building up are ahead and evidence of economic recovery abounds throughout the city.

Therefore, Associated Builders and Owners of Greater New York (ABO) has designated 1994 as the year in which our organization will broaden its efforts to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers.

To our newly elected Mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, we offer congratulations and want him to know that we are competent, interested partners in helping to return New York City to the place where people liked eachother; where neighbor respected and helped neighbor; where doors were not locked and bolted at night.

ABO can be a willing and capable partner in helping the new administration develop answers to the problems that trouble us all.

As we look forward to 1994, ABO's mission remains clear and comprehensive: to continue to develop and maintain effective communication between the real estate industry and federal, state and city governments in every face of the complex task of building, managing and operating real property in New York City. However, we cannot continue to stay above the fray and claim that schools, highways and bridges are someone else's problem. We must concern ourselves with quality of life issues.

ABO has not been shy in the past about broadening our vista. We were among the first to offer help in the efforts that the Doe Foundation expended: initially in feeding the homeless and of late in not merely housing the homeless but in developing job skills so that they would not merely be housed but would be given the opportunity of creating a new life style for themselves and breaking the vicious cycle of homelessness.

I believe that New York City's recently stabilized real estate market will provide the environment to nurture a better quality of life for all New Yorkers. In fact, New York is one of the last remaining geographic areas of the nation to begin its recovery. The Midwest is becoming economically viable and real estate values are slowly firming up elsewhere in the U.S. as well.

Newly enacted real estate tax provisions are tueling part of the turnaround. Retroactive to January 1, 1993, the Federal Debt Forgiveness rules were reformed. In a workout situation in which a lender forgives a portion of the debt on a property, taxpayers now will be able to elect to defer taxes owed by reducing the depreciable basis of the property by the forgiven amount. This will help keep troubled commercial property in private hands by removing disincentives to workouts of delinquent mortgages.

In addition, insurance companies, banks and other financial institutions have accelerated the reorganization of their debt or have been selling off such debt to real estate professionals. This process has, in turn, produced sales and leasing activity in the marketplace, and with it a tremendous sense of relief and a glimmer of hope to the industry.

In the residential sector, the median price of a Manhattan co-op apartment dipped 1 percent during the second quarter of this year - from $430,000 to $425,000 - but remained well above the $395,000 figure recorded during the last quarter of 1992.

The three-month period also evidenced a shift toward higherpriced transactions combined with a long-awaited pick-up in sales activity in lower-priced small apartments.

One noteworthy example is the recent sell-out of all the remaining condominium apartments in The Pinnacle, a 219-unit, 26story building in Forest Hills, Queens. The average price of all sales was just under $200 per square foot. Opened in 1989, The Pinnacle was taken over by Crossland Federal Savings Bank in 1991. At the time, it was completely empty.

Another bright light at the end of the tunnel is the fact that commercial leasing activity in Manhattan increased 13 percent in the first eight months of 1993, with 15.3 million square feet spoken for by the end of August. During the summer, 3.9 million square feet were taken, although that number was boosted by the signing of a 1.3 million-square-foot lease by Prudential Securities Inc. at One New York Plaza.

In conclusion, I urge all real estate professionals in the New York City region to look into the benefits of ABO membership.

Jerome Belson, President Associated Builders and Owners of Greater New York, Inc.
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Title Annotation:Annual Review & Forecast, Section III; Associated Builders and Owners of Greater New York
Author:Belson, Jerome
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Column
Date:Jan 26, 1994
Words:727
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