Housing czar Alicia Glen picked fights she couldn’t win: report

Despite housing wins, deputy mayor was unable to strike Airbnb deal

TRD New York /
Apr.April 16, 2019 09:09 AM
Alicia Glen and Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: Getty Images)

Alicia Glen and Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: Getty Images)

On a conference call with city officials last year, deputy mayor Alicia Glen voiced displeasure with a proposed bill that would force Airbnb to share data with the city. Nonetheless, City Council passed the bill unanimously, and Mayor Bill de Blasio has since subpoenaed the short-term rental giant for that data.

Glen’s inability to persuade City Hall to embrace tech companies like Airbnb reflected a divide between herself and City Hall’s entrenched political forces that marked her five-year stint in the administration, Politico reported in a review of Glen’s tenure based on interviews with more than 30 city officials, union representatives, lobbyists and politicians.

“As she herself made clear, she likes fights,” councilmember Brad Lander told Politico. “But maybe she should get better at picking the right ones.”

Glen, a Goldman Sachs alum who stepped down in March, was tasked with spearheading de Blasio’s $82 billion housing plan. Glen’s embrace of 421a and real estate companies also pitted her against left-leaning advocates in de Blasio’s orbit.

When de Blasio was scheduled to speak at the screening of a film that took aim at hedge funds like Blackstone Group, she reminded him that its executives Tony James and John Gray “have been among our most reliable folks in private equity/asset mgt.” Blackstone bought Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village with significant giveaways from the city in exchange for rent protections.

One of her major achievements was the introduction of Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, which was pushed through City Council despite opposition from construction unions, activist groups and then-City Council Member Jumaane Williams, who is now the public advocate.

At the same time, Glen’s influence was no match for that of the Hotel Trades Council, the force behind the Airbnb bill as well as a recent zoning amendment that would require special permits for hotels in manufacturing districts.

The deputy mayor also faced challenges in her stewardship of NYCHA, which has now been put under federal monitorship amid mismanagement and scandal.

Glen’s replacement, former housing commissioner and NYU professor Vicki Been, takes over the role on May 6.

In January, Glen sat down with The Real Deal to discuss her tenure in City Hall. See TRD’s interview here. [Politico] — Kevin Sun


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
From left: Mayor Bill de Blasio, 54 West 39th Street, 62 Grand Street, and 208 West 30th Street (Credit: Google Maps)

The Airbnb crackdown continues: City targets three more buildings

The Airbnb crackdown continues: City targets three more buildings
A rendering of 165 Broome Street (Credit: Handel Architects)

Nonprofit plans affordable housing development near Essex Crossing

Nonprofit plans affordable housing development near Essex Crossing
All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag

All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag

All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag
Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (Photos via Getty; iStock; Industry City)

Real estate hits bottom as Industry City abandons plan

Real estate hits bottom as Industry City abandons plan
NYC Hospitality Alliance’s Andrew Rigie and Mayor de Blasio (Hospitality Alliance; Getty; iStock)

City can’t afford to bail out restaurants: de Blasio

City can’t afford to bail out restaurants: de Blasio
Council members Antonio Reynoso and Keith Powers (Twitter, NY City Council, Getty)

City Council proposes bill to expand outdoor dining permanently

City Council proposes bill to expand outdoor dining permanently
New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (Getty)

New York lawmakers push for new millionaires’ tax

New York lawmakers push for new millionaires’ tax
Brooklyn’s Sunset Park is in the midst of a severe housing crisis and in desperate need of affordable housing. (Photo by Jim.henderson via Wikipedia)

Sunset Park faces severe affordable housing shortage: report

Sunset Park faces severe affordable housing shortage: report
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...