Michael Slattery, the Real Estate Board of New York’s longtime head of research, is retiring after more than 30 years at the industry organization.
REBNY President John Banks announced Slattery’s pending retirement at the group’s members’ luncheon Tuesday afternoon at the Ziegfeld ballroom in Midtown.
Slattery took a hold of the research team at time before public records were widely available online, and transformed the department into a trusted source of information for the industry.
He joined REBNY in 1986 as executive director of the group’s affordable housing fund. From there he took over REBNY’s research department, spearheading initiatives such as the group’s quarterly market reports and overseeing research on lobbying issues such as the Midtown East rezoning and the 421a tax breaks.
“REBNY’s reputation for accurate and reliable research reports and creative policy development is thanks in large part to the steady and quiet but strong leadership of Mike Slattery,” Bill Rudin, the organization’s chairman, said in a statement. “We all owe a debt of gratitude to Mike for his integrity, high standards, and dedication to REBNY and New York.”
Slattery is the most recent REBNY veteran to leave. In March, John Doyle, the group’s longtime City Council lobbyist, retired from his position. REBNY hired Cozen O’Connor lobbyist Reggie Thomas to replace Doyle.
REBNY late last year offered buyouts to the majority of its staffers, several of whom accepted the buyouts.
At Tuesday’s luncheon, meanwhile, CBRE tri-state CEO Mary Ann Tighe moderated a panel discussion with RXR Realty CEO Scott Rechler, L&L MAG CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin and Silverstein Properties’ CEO Marty Burger.
Discussing the city’s push to develop the biotech and life-science industries here in New York City, Gilmartin said some of the existing space amounts to lipstick on a pig.
“Some of the stuff that has been built in this town is touted as life-science space, but if you really go in and look at the wet labs and research facilities . . . it’s not quite what is if you go up to Boston,” she said.
Gilmartin also shared an anecdote about the difficulties of dealing with government agencies on public-private projects.
When building the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, she said, Forest City Ratner had proformaed the cost of a new subway entrance at $5 million. But when the company got a look under the sidewalk at all the corrosion in the subway, executives realized it would cost much more.
When Forest City went to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, though, the agency put all the cost of construction on the developer — $72 million.
“It was harder to build that entrance than it was to build the billion dollar Barclays Center,” she said.