Stroock Hosts Forum: Is Affordable Housing in New York Possible?
New York, June 4, 2013 – Stroock & Stroock & Lavan hosted a Government Leadership forum on affordable housing today, with three industry experts: Mathew M. Wambua, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development; Ron L. Moelis, Co-Founder, CEO and Chairman of L+M Development Partners; and Ingrid Gould Ellen, Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
The forum explored solutions to the problem of affordable housing that is confronting millions of New Yorkers.
Robert Abrams, former New York State Attorney General and Chair of Stroock’s Government Relations Practice, and Leonard Boxer, Chairman of Stroock’s Real Estate Practice, moderated the panel discussion at the law firm’s New York office. Ross F. Moskowitz, Stroock Real Estate partner and member of the firm’s Executive Committee, introduced the program.
“New York is the greatest city in the world but it is increasingly difficult for many who want to continue to live here and for those who would like to live here to do so because the cost of shelter is prohibitive,” said Abrams.
Wambua gave the possibility of affordable housing an “unequivocal yes” for New York City, noting that the Department of Housing Preservation and Development has completed 165,000 housing units during the Bloomberg administration. Wambua’s hope is that, with a new administration next year, New York’s “historic commitment to affordable housing is sustained.”
Stating that the current administration “has made affordable housing a priority,” Moelis said important goals should be “integrating housing into community development – and leveraging both to do well – and a public/private investment push to preserve and create housing, without relying solely on government.”
Noting that while more people want to live in the City, Ellen said, “Market conditions in New York are ever more challenging.” She offered suggestions for improvement, including 1) attracting social investment funds from the private sector, 2) building more effectively on existing lands, 3) developing programs to share housing, particularly between older people and younger individuals who want to move to New York, and 4) making management of housing more efficient.
As head of the nation’s largest municipal housing agency, Wambua is in charge of the development and preservation of affordable housing and the enforcement of the City’s Housing Maintenance Code.
L+M Development Partners, which Moelis leads, is a real estate development company responsible for over $3 billion of development and construction. Moelis also serves as Vice Chairman of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing and as an advisory board member of the Housing Partnership.
NYU’s Ellen also is also Co-Director of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at the school. She teaches microeconomics, urban economics, and housing and urban policy.
Today’s event was the 14th in a series hosted by Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP. Previous participants included New York’s Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy; New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman; Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.; Congressman Jerrold Nadler; Patrick J. Foye, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; Thomas F. Prendergast, President MTA New York City Transit; and Newark Mayor Cory Booker and former New York Governor David Paterson.
The forum was sponsored by Stroock’s Government Relations group, which is comprised of former prosecutors, judges, and government agency officials. The practice is led by Mr. Abrams, who also served as President of the National Association of Attorneys General, Executive Chair of New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s Transition Committee and Honorary Co-Chair of Attorney General Schneiderman’s Transition Committee.
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP is a law firm providing transactional and litigation guidance to leading multinational corporations, investment banks and private equity firms in the U.S. and abroad. Stroock’s emphasis on client service and innovation has made it one of the nation’s leading law firms for 130 years. Stroock’s practice areas include capital markets/securities, commercial finance, mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures, private equity, private funds, derivatives and commodities, employment law and benefits, energy and project finance, entertainment, environmental law, financial restructuring, financial services litigation, insurance, intellectual property, investment management, litigation, personal client services, real estate, structured finance and tax. For more information, please visit Stroock’s website at www.stroock.com.