That 70’s Problem

The City released the second annual report on building energy benchmarking, Wednesday, establishing from two years worth of data that individual building usage is generally consistent. Apartment buildings built in the 1970s seem to have the worst energy performance in that sector, although there is a smaller range in energy use among multifamily buildings, a factor of three, versus office or retail that typically vary by a factor of about six. Excel spreadsheets with data for every property reporting are available online.

Tuesday, the City Council approved rezoning of a 55 block area of Crown Heights to limit building height and the City Planning Commission began considering a similar proposal to limit high rise development in Ozone Park. Maintaining the status quo trumps addressing the housing crisis, as usual.

The Real Estate Board of New York made a similar point Wednesday in a report on landmarking and affordable housing. Since 2008, no affordable housing units have been built in landmark districts of Manhattan, and just five units since 2003. Not surprisingly, landmark districts tend to be wealthier than other areas — leading to the conclusion that historic means nimby to rich people.

Also this week, the Furman Center at NYU issued its quarterly housing report, indicating that multifamily building sales and prices were up from the first quarter, along with foreclosures. The recession has a long tail, perhaps due in part to the slowness of judicial proceedings.

ABO members have until Monday to register for free passes to the International Builders Show in Las Vegas, February 4-6th at

Finally, we are sad to report that longtime ABO member and  Vice President Lawrence Laiken passed away this week. As founder of Larrin Management, he was a stalwart of the industry and will be missed.

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