What can Tom Suozzi do for real estate?

The moderate gubernatorial candidate lost big in 2006; a pro-biz mentality might be the charm

New York /
May.May 13, 2022 11:00 AM

U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi isn’t new to business or to politics. The congressman from New York’s 3rd district is a CPA, an attorney, a former county executive and served four terms as mayor of his native Glen Cove.

He also isn’t new to gubernatorial candidacy, having faced off against Eliot Spitzer in the state’s 2006 Democratic primary. It didn’t go well.

Neither that defeat nor pressure from his own party has swayed Suozzi from his ambitions this time around. “Everything I’ve done in my life has prepared me for this particular job at this particular point,” he told The Real Deal last week.

That might not be a bad thing for the state’s real estate interests, to which Suozzi could represent a purplish spot in an ever-deepening sea of blue. He’s got business experience, knows how to play the political game and hasn’t eschewed real estate donations. Compared to incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul, who largely failed to get the industry’s priorities across the finish line in the state budget, and fellow challenger Jumaane Williams‘ position further to the left, Suozzi could capture some of the industry’s support.

To do that, he needs to demonstrate viability above all else. This week he released internal polling showing he is gaining on the incumbent and could overtake her by the June primary.

Now, with 421a and so many other critical issues on the line, is it Suozzi’s time? And what would a Suozzi governorship actually mean for real estate? (“Local control, not Hochul control,” he says, for one, referring to his position that localities should be able to reject zoning that allows accessory dwelling units.)

TRD senior managing editor Erik Engquist interviewed Suozzi to find out more. Watch the video above for his takes on everything from the industry’s favorite tax exemption to single-family zoning and the state’s 2019 rent law.


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