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Measuring the industry's growth and progress.

It can be said that one of the best measures of the well-being of the City of New York is the real estate industry. When the real estate market is up, so is New York City. As Texas is synonymous with oil and Michigan is known for its automobiles, New York City is synonymous with real estate. When the market is thriving in New York City--from commercial to residential to retail--we know that people and businesses want to be here. When major redevelopment projects are on the brink of becoming reality, adding more jobs and economic activity, it is easy to see how the real estate market is the lifeblood of the city.

Real Estate Weekly celebrates the last 50 years of New York City real estate with this commemorative issue. And what has been abundantly clear throughout these years is that the real estate industry--an inherently 'New York' business--closely reflects and measures the progress of New York City's growth. The real estate market is a beacon of the city's economic growth during good times and resilience during challenging times.

REBNY, as the voice of the real estate industry, has led the trends that have shaped our city. Through its own evolution, growth and change, REBNY has made a mark on New York City by helping to make it what it is today.

Now as we plan for two of the largest rezoning projects in New York City's history--the West Side Railyards and the Brooklyn waterfront, and move forward with plans for the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan, projects that rival the creation of Central Park or Battery Park City in size and scope--and with strong activity in the commercial, industrial, retail and residential sectors, and numerous other developments legislative and otherwise--our members realize that New York City is poised for its greatest growth ever.

As the real estate industry has changed, so has its premier trade association. One particular watershed moment was the real estate market's unprecedented surge in 1978. This was the beginning of a fundamental shift at REBNY, which began expanding its role from what was an organization that allowed commercial brokers to network and share their available space with each other. It was not until this time, as property values were skyrocketing, that REBNY expanded to bring in the commercial owners and managers as a result of all of the market activity. Then, in the late 1980s, the changing real estate market brought a major influx of residential builders/owners. Eventually in the mid-1990s, REBNY attracted the residential brokers. Clearly, the changing real estate market has brought about changes at REBNY.

Now, REBNY's role has evolved further. One of our organization's primary activities is the evaluation and creation of policy for the city, state and federal government. We've been more involved in federal legislative issues in the last four years--like the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) and funding for the Downtown Rail Link to Long Island--and have hired a Washington lobbyist to represent the board in several issues that will affect New York City.

It's a major leap. If you look at the board today, we've played a major role to create incentive programs and services that are beneficial to New York City. For example, our members have helped to adapt the International Building Code for use in New York City making our buildings safer than ever, worked with legislators in the past few years to make sure that economic development incentives like the REAP program continue to keep businesses in New York City, and we have worked extensively with the Department of Homeland Security and Office of Emergency Management to create emergency plans such as the Building Contact database. The real estate industry' s role in such initiatives has resulted in a strong partnership between our members and government entities.

With an ever-increasing involvement in public policy, REBNY members have become savvier not just about the real estate business but civic and philanthropic interests as well. This long term and wide view reflects what I believe is the standard for the active real estate professional in the city. If you look at our board of governors, all 100 are involved in other city-centric endeavors, from serving on city hospital, museum or health boards, to name a few.

On the membership side, REBNY has gone from informal information sharing to highly intuitive and collaborative data management and sharing. For the commercial division, we have made it much easier for brokers to share available commercial space listings. And our similar information sharing initiatives in the residential arena, via the REBNY Residential Listing Service (RLS), has dramatically improved the ability of consumers to be served by our residential brokers. By increasing listing information, REBNY has helped to open up the market; the ease of information has helped buyers find cooperatives and condominiums and companies to find new office space. Changing the way we share information has had a positive impact for the industry and the city.

REBNY's more than 100 year history lends itself to numerous other important moments that cannot possibly be recollected in a short article. But through highlighting some of the events in the recent past, it is clear that our membership and our purpose has evolved through the years with a goal of serving our most important customer--New York City itself. Just as Real Estate Weekly has grown since 1955 to become a must-read in the industry with more than 25,000 readers, REBNY has grown from a few hundred members back in the early 1900s to nearly 10,000 members today.

We salute Real Estate Weekly as it celebrates its golden anniversary. And if the next 50 years can show as much promise as the last 50, I believe that this publication, the City of New York and the Real Estate Board of New York will continue to grow and prosper together. REBNY is proud to grow with New York City.

With our thanks

Real Estate Weekly extends its gratitude to BOMA-NY for selecting Great Buildings, to REBNY for Industry Titans, to AREW for Women in Real Estate, to REBNY for Great Families and to YM/ WREA for Rising Stars. Current Leaders and Deal-Makers were compiled through nominations from marketing departments of leading industry firms.

Eric Gerard, former editor of Real Estate Weekly and currently senior vice president of Great Ink, acted as editor.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Hagedorn Publication
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Spinola, Steven
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Aug 20, 2005
Words:1060
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