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REBNY marks 100 year milestone serving NY.

REBNY is the only organization that brings the industry's full force to bear on every major matter of professional concern. Fittingly enough, the Board will mark its Centennial in 1996 with a series of events that reflects the wide range of our membership's interests.

The Real Estate Board will begin celebrating its first century of building and serving New York on January 18th at our 100th Annual Banquet. Virtually every industry leader and senior public official will be on the dais. In addition, REBNY will present awards recognizing distinguished lifetime service to New York City, notable philanthropic endeavor, and achievements in brokerage and management. With an eye toward the future, the Young Men's/Women's Real Estate Association will present its prize to a member whose career has already fulfilled considerable promise.

In addition to honoring their winners, these insignias of accomplishment express the Board's commitment to New York's economic growth and civic life. REBNY's record in its 99th year fulfilled that commitment in several ways.

For example, the Board was closely involved in designing and gaining approvals for the three-year city-state Lower Manhattan Program. This combination of tax abatements, lease-signing incentives, energy cost reductions and residential conversion benefits should help speed the area's renaissance by cutting business occupancy costs there by between $3 and $6, and add a 24-hour character to the financial district by stimulating more housing production there.

REBNY also won an extension of Industrial and Commercial Incentive Program (ICIP) benefits both for renovation projects between 23rd and 59th streets, and the construction of "smart" buildings south of 96th Street that can accommodate the most sophisticated business technology.

The extension of the original builder's exemption from the real property gains tax exemption, which moves deadlines for eligibility up by 18 months, was another REBNY-supported measure to facilitate new construction.

REBNY was also an effective advocate for the accord reached by Mayor Giuliani and the City Council to start phasing out the commercial rent tax, which is scheduled to fall from 6 percent to 5.1 percent in March and decline still further in June.

In addition, the Board succeeded again in turning back a commercial rent control proposal.

The zoning dispersal of "adult use" shops, whose concentration had plagued Times Square for more than a generation, will accelerate the renewal of a crucial Midtown gateway and entertainment center. REBNY participated in shaping the solution to this blighting problem.

While all of these measures will strengthen New York's magnetism for business and encourage tenants to sign leases, REBNY assisted brokers in other ways, too. A Board-backed statute absolved brokers of having to disclose non-material facts about a property unless a potential purchaser requests such information in writing. We also helped to dissuade legislators from passing bills requiring brokers to transmit a detailed form filled out by the seller to the buyer, a time-consuming procedure that would serve no useful purpose.

Come Home to REBNY Convention

The "Come Home to REBNY" all-day residential convention and conference, to be held on February 23rd, is the second important Board Centennial Event. Maintaining and expanding the city's housing stock has always been one of REBNY's leading objectives. "Come Home to REBNY" will feature ranking public officials, journalists and commentators discussing the residential sector. The convention will also give vendors of housing-related goods and services an opportunity to market their wares.

In 1995, REBNY promoted housing development and maintenance by securing the previously mentioned residential conversion incentives for the Lower Manhattan Program; spoke in favor the Sixth Avenue rezoning that permits residential use between 23rd and 31st streets; had parking removed from the definition of accessory use in the 421-a program, which preserves some design flexibility for housing developers while protecting their abatement; had the maximum size of windowless kitchenettes increased to improve handicapped accessibility and facilitate the conversion of office space to residential use; and brought Department of Environmental Customer Service Representatives equipped with computers and modems to the Board to help property managers resolve water and sewer billing problems.

The Board's new Residential Division also demonstrated its vitality in the past year. The division's recruitment drive delivered over 200 new broker members to REBNY's membership rolls. The Real Estate Board's residential broker and management members also collaborated on a Cooperative Purchase Application to aid co-op boards in evaluating applicants, and prepared an updated Cooperative/Condominium Fact Sheet about a building for brokers to keep on file.

The third event in observance of REBNY's first century is the Centennial Gala Dinner Dance to be held at the Waldorf-Astoria on May 21st. This glamorous occasion, however, is more than a festivity. Proceeds from this gala will be dedicated to the Board's Second Century Fund. The endowment will ensure that REBNY can serve its industry and its city, whatever the economy's condition.

As the record just reviewed proves, the Board's work is of enormous value. The industry's strength, however, has another significant link with New York's well-being; real estate leaders top the list of contributors to almost every large philanthropic enterprise in the city. REBNY's own charitable efforts - including the George M. Brooker Teachers for Tomorrow Program, which has amassed $335,000 in three years for living-cost stipends for public school teachers in training, or the $465,000 for agencies serving the homeless raised through the Residential Deal of the Year Gala since 1989 - are but a fraction of what the industry brings to the city's benevolent endeavors.

We're very proud of what the Real Estate Board has done. In 1996, our Centennial year, we will express that pride in a constructive fashion that honors REBNY's history.
COPYRIGHT 1995 Hagedorn Publication
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Copyright 1995, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Focus on: Trade Associations; Real Estate Board of New York
Author:Spinola, Steven
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Dec 13, 1995
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