CoreNet NYC Public Policy Committee Hosts Panel What Issues are Shaping NYC's Future?
CoreNet Global NYC’s Public Policy Committee recently hosted the panel event What Issues are Shaping NYC’s Future on February 27 at the Haworth Showroom. The event featured industry-leading speakers from Partnership for NYC and Taconic Partners LLC. Additionally, the event was attended by more than 70 real estate and built environment experts and was sponsored by Haworth, an Annual Sponsor of CoreNet.
Beginning with opening remarks, Kathy Wylde, President and CEO, Partnership for NYC, shared up-to-date research and business perspectives on the current state of New York City and the challenges affecting the business community. In general, NYC is thriving, especially in terms of a booming economy, advancements in education, and lower crime rates. The city is diversifying industries, bringing in more tech and even creating job opportunities in boroughs outside of Manhattan. Regulatory changes have opened the door for life sciences companies to expand, and the city’s talent pool continues to attract and retain large corporations and foster entrepreneurial growth.
Following this overview from Wylde, Nate Bliss, Vice President of Development and Construction, Taconic Partners LLC, and former Senior Vice President, New York City Economic Development Corporation, conducted an interview with Wylde. Throughout the interview, Wylde discussed a wide range of development topics, including economic opportunities, infrastructure and energy. Despite the positive opening remarks, Wylde was able to point out three major concerns for the future without hesitating: cost of living, homelessness and transportation.
During the interview Wylde diagnosed the issues New York City’s business community is facing and concluded that while the issues may appear to be economic in nature, in actuality they are the product of polarizing political issues and a general breakdown of communication between local, business, and political parties. New York City’s real estate and development industry has recently become the scapegoat for these polarizing issues, resulting in political reform that has cracked down upon the commercial real estate industry including, rezoning and rent laws impacting affordable housing, among others. “While New York has more than 300,000 jobs listed, they are not being filled due to a skills gap from higher education and restrictive immigration policy,” said Wylde. “Though it may seem like many of the issues are economic, they really are political, and the impact is being felt throughout all aspects of the market.”
When Bliss posed the question, “is this a unique time in history for NY?”, Wylde pointed out that the most significant aberration today is the culture, specifically this polarization among the population. While New York has historically been a pragmatic city where people and corporations unite in their activism and efforts to make improvements, this is no longer true. Over the last 20 years, the organic collaboration between corporate development and community has “disintegrated.” The culture has shifted from one that welcomes development in a small neighborhood into a fear-based skepticism creating “anti-development, gentrification scares.” According to Wylde, there is a lack of trust among the local residents, and the judiciary reacts to the public, which is becoming dangerous for the future growth success of New York. Culture is not easy to measure, like other neighborhood indicators including the economy or education, so it can be harder to grasp the origins, navigate the complexities, and find solutions.
As a community of corporate developers and professionals, CoreNet can play a role in bringing people together again. Individuals can act as ambassadors to local communities and communicate the positive improvements and good intentions that developers have for the public. Wylde remains upbeat about the future of NY overall, and encourages us all to get to know the local issues, be an educated voter, and get involved.
About CoreNet Global NYC Public Policy Committee
The CoreNet NYC Public Policy committee responds to CoreNet NYC member interests in chapter events and Executive Board leadership initiatives related to infrastructure, public policy, public and private partnerships and other issues in the industry that affect end-users, landlords, and the wider real estate industry.