Best Laid Plans
Best Laid Plans
It was but one line in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s State of the City address in January, but it could prove to be one of the biggest of his dozen years in office.
“In the area around Grand Central, we’ll work with the City Council on a package of regulatory changes and incentives that will attract new investment, new companies and new jobs,” the mayor said from the stage inside Morris High School in the Bronx.
Hizzoner spent more time talking about Cornell’s Roosevelt Island tech campus, keeping the Hunt’s Point Produce Market from moving across the Hudson to Jersey and efforts to further expand the blue-collar workforce on the waterfront. Even the redevelopment of nearby East Fordham Road and Webster Avenue got equal billing with these vague pronouncements about “the area around Grand Central.”
Despite the scant mention, it turns out that for an administration that has never shied away from big plans, this may be one of the biggest projects yet.
One of the more onerous aspect’s of developing in New York City is the public review process, known as ULURP, a seven-month gauntlet of meetings and votes and editorializing about one’s baby. But just as troublesome can be the act of getting to ULURP, a pre-certification process at the Department of City Planning that can take months, and sometimes even years, as city officials and planners get a project into the shape they want it and running environmental and economic analysis on the project.
The city just popped an aspirin on this development headache, or rather an Aleve, for a new program known as BluePRint, the Business Process Reform. It is meant to streamline the pre-certification process, Deputy Mayor Robert Steel announced at an ABNY breakfast this morning.
Speeches were casually ignored, drinks were spilled and bonds were formed at last Thursday’s 116th annual Real Estate Board of New York Gala, which this year drew an estimated 2,000 brokers, owners, advertising buyers and real estate reporters to the New York Hilton for an evening of conviviality, honorifics and hushed deal making. Among the fray was Commercial Observer staff writer Daniel Geiger, who during the course of the evening saw his stenopad tossed by an irate real estate broker and who unabashedly accosted Studley’s Woody Heller in the hotel’s bathroom, all for the sake of the story. Below, a timeline of gala comings and goings, from the innocuous gossip down to the downright obnoxious.
New Deputy Mayors
• While Wall Street executives fret about how financial reform may hamstring their operations, business is booming and jobs are abundant at the Securities and Exchange Commission. [Bloomberg]
• Wall Street, long known for its adoration of Barack Obama, has gotten over its presidential crush, thanks mainly to the commander in chief’s insistence on strict Read More
Come Monday, the mayor’s inner-circle will be full again. New deputy mayor for economic development, Bob Steel, a former vice chairman at Goldman Sachs and the former CEO of Wachovia, starts in his new job, a bit more than a month after he was first selected.
Just what this will mean for the administration, Read More
About three weeks ago, Bob Lieber, the outgoing deputy mayor for who has overseen the Bloomberg administration’s economic development strategy for the past two and a half years, placed a call to Robert Steel. Mr. Lieber was on the hunt for someone to fill his job-he’s leaving to work for real estate investor Andrew Farkas-and Read More