Real estate pros turn out for Steven Spinola send-off

Former president of influential REBNY honored at the Rainbow Room 
September 29, 2015 02:35PM

The real estate community and three of the New York City mayors who served over the past 30 years paid tribute Monday night to former REBNY president Steven Spinola during a bash at the Rainbow Room in Midtown.

Behind the story:
Steven Spinola

Hundreds of real estate pros turned out to fete the longest-serving president of the influential lobbying group Real Estate Board of New York who stepped down earlier this year after nearly three decades overseeing the group, Politico New York reported.

“In an emotional speech, Steve said he was overwhelmed and quoted the late Yogi Berra’s ‘When you come to a fork in the road, take it,’ and urged the industry to take stands not only on land use, zoning and taxes but also public safety, the health of our cultural institutions and other issues that matter to New Yorkers,” REBNY spokesperson Jamie McShane told the website. “Never just do nothing at the fork in the road.”

Former mayors David Dinkins and Rudy Giuliani paid video tributes to Spinola, while current Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Gov. Andrew Cuomo swung by to give their regards in person.

De Blasio reportedly slipped out before Cuomo arrived, avoiding what could have been an unsightly confrontation between the two officials who have been butting heads for more than a year now over issues including pre-kindergarten funding, the controversial 421-a tax break and – most recently – the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s budge.

Though Spinola officially stepped down in late June and handed the reins over to his successor John Banks, he plans to stay involved to hammer out the details of the lingering negotiations with construction unions on the future of 421a.

In the meantime, Spinola is keeping busy with projects like the Lightstone Group’s new Real Estate Investment Trust, where he will serve on the board of directors.

The Rainbow Room sits on the 65th floor of 30 Rockefeller Center, which is owned by REBNY Chairman Rob Speyer’s Tishman Speyer. Mere hours before Monday night’s party, the company circulated a memo to employees announcing Speyer been appointed sole CEO of the company after his father Jerry Speyer, with whom he had shared the title for several years, stepped aside. [Politico]   — Rich Bockman