The Daily Dirt: Yimby group to boost pro-housing candidates

Open New York launches super PAC

Open New York Launches Super PAC
Open New York's Annemarie Gray, Assembly member Sarahana Shrestha and Sen. Rachel May (Open New York, New York State Assembly, LinkedIn, Getty)

A Yimby group is launching a six-figure campaign to back pro-housing candidates. 

Open New York on Monday announced the creation of Abundant New York, a super PAC to support pro-housing incumbents and work to unseat those who “have failed to address the crisis with urgency.”

“It is essential that they understand the importance of the state government stepping up,” Annemarie Gray, executive director of Open New York, said in an interview.

The group expects to raise six figures this year, though it has not specified the exact amount. Gray said the fundraising in 2024 will serve as a foundation for a multiyear, multimillion-dollar effort that targets multiple levels of government.

The PAC will not accept contributions from developers and others in the real estate industry — a vow that the group made in its early days. Open New York has distanced itself from the industry in other ways, including backing good cause eviction.

“It is imperative that we maintain our independence,” Gray said.

Open New York also announced its first slate of endorsements, which include Micah Lasher, who most recently served as Gov. Kathy Hochul’s director of policy and is running for an open seat in Manhattan’s 69th Assembly District. The group is also backing Assembly member Sarahana Shrestha and Sen. Rachel May.

We have seen pro-housing groups build up influence in other markets covered by The Real Deal. In San Francisco, pro-housing moderates won several seats on the little-known but powerful Democratic County Central Committee. Open New York’s members have taken seats on at least five community boards in Manhattan, and its campaign coordinator, Samir Lavingia, was elected chair of Community Board 5 this month.

What we’re thinking about: The Real Estate Board of New York and the Building and Construction Trades Council have reached an impasse over 421a negotiations. What’s next? Send a note to

A thing we’ve learned: The average cost of insuring an affordable apartment is $1,770, which is 103 percent more than it was four years ago, according to an analysis by the New York Housing Conference of data from 12 owners with 55,000 units of affordable housing. The organization is urging lawmakers to ban discrimination for property insurance and liability insurance based on residents’ source of income and income level.

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Elsewhere in New York…

— Applications for three casino licenses up for grabs downstate won’t be due until 2025, Crain’s reports. The state’s Gaming Commission wants to give applicants enough time to complete the environmental review process for their projects and clear various land use issues. The city is also in the process of updating its zoning to allow casinos without each proposal having to go through its land use review process (though some of the proposals need to anyway).

— Over the next five days, the NYPD will deploy 800 additional uniformed and plainclothes officers to crack down on subway fare evaders, Gothamist reports. NYPD Chief of Transit Michael Kemper said officers have made 1,700 arrests and issued 28,000 summons related to fare evasion this year.

— Cities in western New York, including Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester, will experience a total solar eclipse on April 8. A limited number of free “I Love New York” solar eclipse glasses will be available at state welcome centers and rest stops, according to CBS New York

Closing Time

Residential: The priciest sale on Monday was $50 million for a 6,300-square-foot condominium unit at Aman New York, 730 Fifth Avenue in Midtown. 

Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was $11.9 million for a 24,000-square-foot industrial property at 181 Lombardy Street in East Williamsburg. 

New to the Market: The highest price for a residential property hitting the market was $13.45 million for a townhouse in Lenox Hill. Phoenix Goldstein and George Vanderploeg of Douglas Elliman have the listing.

Breaking Ground: The largest new building filing of the day was the 615,000-square-foot, five-story New York City Football Club stadium at 126-87 Willets Point Boulevard in Queens. James Christerson of HOK filed the permits. — Matthew Elo