Issue 02: April 3 – April 10

April 10, 2020
Governor’s Update

During the Governor’s press conference, he announced,

  • $200m in emergency food assistance to more than 700,000 SNAP households.
  • InterContinental Times Square, Yotel, and Hudson Hotel are providing 800 free rooms for healthcare workers, in partnership with HANYC, MetLife and the Related Companies.
  • Working with the NY Congressional delegation to create a COVID-19 Heroes Compensation Fund.
  • Urging the Federal government to use the Defense Production Act to bring testing to scale; also, looking to private sector companies to conduct testing.
Mayoral Update

During the Mayor’s press conference, he announced,

  • Emergency hospital at USTA will open today and will eventually accommodate 470 beds.
  • Mayor Jim Brainard and the City of Carmel are sending 50,000 testing kits to NYC.
  • State declined request for suspension of this year’s Rent Guidelines Board; process will take place online.
  • Call for rent freeze on rent-controlled apartments.
  • Call for State to let tenants use security deposits to cover rent payments.
Mayoral Update

On WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show, the Mayor said,

  • NYPD will have presence at train stations where crowded subways reported as a problem.
  • Supports rent freezes for NYCHA residents; would likely require Federal and State approval.
  • Cancelling pilot street closure program partly due to lack of enforcement capabilities.
City Council Update

Council will return on Tuesday.

  • Speaker and Council Members to hold Virtual Briefing on Tuesday No testimony from Administration or the public.
  • NYTimes coverage on this can be found here.
Agency Update: DOB

DOB’s new essential construction (EC) guidelines based on NYS ESD’s guidance.

Policy will update on Monday, including the following:

  • DOB portal for EC permits will begin allowing more than one appeal.
  • DOB will expand the category of projects it can approve for EC permits, based on ESD’s guidance.
  • Requests for EC permits that were previously denied may be approved under the new guidelines.
  • Previously denied EC waivers will be re-examined and may be approved.
  • ESD’s guidance can be found here.
April 9, 2020
Federal Update

Federal Reserve’s $2.3 trillion expansion to support businesses and stabilize the economy.

This plan includes:

  • Increase to the Main Street Lending Program by $600 billion, geared to small and midsize businesses, particularly those not eligible for SBA’s emergency loans.
  • Municipal Liquidity Facility to provide up to $500 billion in lending to states and cities to manage losses in cash flow.
  • Creation of the Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility (PPPLF) to extend credit to financial institutions that originate and process SBA’s PPP loans.
  • Expansion of the Primary and Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facilities and Term Asset-Back Security Loan Facility to allow new classes of debt to households and businesses.
  • Full press release on the plan here. Wall Street Journal coverage here.
Governor’s Update

During the Governor’s press conference, he announced,

  • “New York Loves” effort to coordinate all foundations, philanthropies, not-for-profits, charities, and other entities that want to help or donate to the State.
  • New testing sites in African American and Latino communities.
  • Blood drive for donations from those who have recovered from the virus.
  • State is not considering the use of nursing homes solely for treatment of COVID patients.
  • 1,000 people on staff receiving calls for unemployment benefits.
  • Projected budget shortfall of $10 to $20 billion; pay raises for State workers frozen, States throughout the U.S. will likely not have a complete count for the Census.
Agency Update: ESD

Essential Construction.

ESD released new guidance on essential construction, which can be found here. In NYC, DOB is still requiring approval for construction projects to continue on a site-by-site basis. Differences in the new guidance compared to the March 27 guidance include:

  • School construction (both public and private) is deemed essential.
  • Lower threshold for the affordable housing threshold, set at 20%; public housing included.
  • Construction can proceed to a point where a site can safely be left.
  • Specific guidance on energy projects (number 14 in the FAQ here).
  • Construction may proceed for existing projects of an essential business.
  • Local government should postpone construction if not essential.
Mayoral Update

During the Mayor’s press conference, he announced,

  • DOHMH will begin publishing daily COVID-19 metrics on hospitalization, ICU admissions, and positive cases; each metric needs to be declining to consider changes to social distancing.
  • Budget cuts to Vision Zero to prioritize construction for road maintenance and repairs; program remains a priority.
NYC Budget Update

Mayor’s proposed budget cuts.

Politico reported that the Mayor’s $1.3 billion savings plan does not do enough to meet the anticipated revenue shortfall of more than $6 billion. See full coverage here.

Real Estate Update

Impact of construction shutdown.

The Real Deal assessed how the current construction shutdown will impact loans, insurance costs, workforce availability, and government inspection. See full article here.

April 8, 2020
Governor’s Update

During the Governor’s press conference, he announced,

  • Rate of hospitalization continues to decline.
  • University at Albany, NYSDOH, and Northwell Health on to study COVID’s impact on minority communities.
  • State will make a $600 additional payment to anyone who filed for unemployment; State expects to be reimbursed by the Federal government.
  • Extension to the period covered by unemployment for another 13 weeks (39 weeks in total).
  • Executive Order allowing all New Yorkers to vote by absentee ballot in the June election.
  • New social media campaign called “Who are you staying home for?” to protect the elderly and immunocompromised.
NYS Legislation Update

Bill to expand the residential eviction moratorium.

Lawmakers in Albany continue to push to extend the 90-day moratorium on evictions; Community Service Society released a report predicting a flood of evictions once the moratorium is lifted. See Daily News coverage here.

State Budget Update

Prevailing Wage

The Wall Street Journal aggregated a variety of responses by construction and real estate leaders to the expansion of prevailing wage requirements in the state budget. See article here.

Mayoral Update

Mayor appointed Peter Kauffmann, U.S. Navy veteran and founder of Bluejacket Strategies, as Senior Advisor to the COVID-19 response team. See press release here.

Mayoral Update

During the Mayor’s press conference, he announced,

  • Ventilator use is lower than projected and new hospitalizations are stabilizing.
  • 311 will begin to provide real-time answers on risk-factors, symptoms and care.
  • Billie Jean King National Tennis Center will begin receiving patients this week.
  • City is still in immediate need for staffing, PPE (particularly surgical gowns).
  • Plans to expand food pantries, which will build upon the City’s meal distribution sites.
April 7, 2020
Federal Update

The Queens Chamber of Commerce held a conference call with the Queens Congressional Delegation on the CARES Act and next steps. Highlights include:

  • Congress is working on another legislative package that will expand upon the CARES Act.
  • Rep. Maloney said the U.S. Treasury announced that they are looking to infuse $200 billion more into SBA’s loan programs.
  • Rep. Suozzi is working with other members of Congress to reinstate SALT deductions in the next legislative package that addresses this crisis.
  • Rep. Jeffries said the Federal Reserve will begin to purchase SBA loans in order to help them process more loans for businesses.
  • Rep. Meeks said that funding for Terminal 1 of LaGuardia is still in place, but the Delta and JetBlue terminal projects will likely be delayed by a few months.
  • Rep. Meeks said that the Queens Delegation could discuss ways to provide assistance to NYC’s tourism industry with the House Speaker, State, and City Council.
  • Rep. Meng said Congress has put forward a resolution to condemn attacks and bias toward Asian communities around the country.
Governor’s Update

During the Governor’s press conference, he announced,

  • Experts believe NYS may be experiencing a plateau.
  • Both Javits (2,500 beds) and USNS Comfort (500 beds) now treating COVID-19 patients.
  • NYS DOH approved antibody testing; State will bring to scale if approved by the FDA; NYS is looking to invest in testing companies that can expand capacity and ramp up testing.
  • NYS making plans to re-start the economy in concert with NJ and CT; people who have tested negative, with antibodies, or young people are likely to return to work first.
  • Executive Order on ventilator and PPE redistribution will be issued and will direct hospitals with excess equipment to provide for redistribution.
State Update

City and State hosted a webinar on the state’s legislative response to COVID-19 with Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Health Committees, Senator Gustavo Rivera and Assemblyman RIchard Gottried. Full transcript here.

State Legislation Update

Bill to expand the residential eviction moratorium.

Senators Hoylman, Kureger, and Dinowitz introduced a bill to aid residential tenants by extending the 90-day moratorium on evictions for an additional six months after the state of emergency. See full text of the bill here. See bill memo here.

Mayoral Update

The Mayor announced his first round of budget cuts.

  • $273m cut in education, including $43m cut to 3K program.
  • $250m cut in health and human service programs, including $10m from the ThriveNYC program and $124m from youth employment programs.
  • $280m public safety cuts (over two years), including closing of Department of Correction facilities and cutting of DOC staff.
  • $24m from transportation initiatives, such as bike lanes.
  • $18m from park programs, such as tree pruning.
  • $21m cut through temporary suspension of organics collection.
  • See Politico coverage here. See Daily News coverage here.
Mayoral Update

During the Mayor’s press conference, he announced,

  • 2.6m meals have been provided citywide across all 435 meal distribution sites.
  • New initiative called Health Care Heroes to fund food and household supplies for health care workers and their families; delivery of supplies will begin on Monday.
NYC Budget Update

Council’s budget response.

The NYC Council released its response to the Mayor’s FY21 Preliminary Budget; prioritized:

  • Maintaining public health
  • Addressing food insecurity
  • Housing
  • Protecting service providers
  • See budget response letter here ; press release here.
NYC Budget Update

CBC’s NYC budget projections.

The Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) held a briefing to discuss their projections of COVID-19’s impact on the NYC budget and CBC’s recommendations to the City on how to recover:

  • CBC’s revenue loss projections
    • FY2020 – $1.6 to $2.4 billion
    • FY2021- $5.6 to $6 billion
    • FY2022- $6 to $7 billion
  • CBC’s recommendations
    • Expenditure control
    • Temporary tax increases
    • Tap into the Retiree Health Benefit Trust (RHBT)
    • Borrow for operating expenses (last resort option)
Agency Update: Department of Buildings

Change to online submission of Certificates of Correction and Temporary Certificate of Occupancy renewal payments, effective April 7.

  • To submit a Certificate of Correction request, use an eFiling account to log into DOB NOW and select the BIS portal. If you need to create an eFiling account, visit here.
  • To pay a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) renewal fee, log into eFiling and select Express Cashier Payments and Temporary Certificate of Occupancy Fees.
  • For more information, see service notice here.
April 6, 2020
Governor’s Update

During the Governor’s press conference, he announced,

  • Request to the President that the USNS Comfort shift to care for only COVID-19 patients.
  • Northwell Health is receiving support from U.S. military personnel to staff Javits and USNS.
  • Schools and nonessential businesses will remain closed until April 29.
  • Maximum fines for violations of social distancing rules are increased from $500 to $1,000.
Mayoral Update

During the Mayor’s press conference, he announced,

  • Lafayette 148 and Crye Precision are using their space to produce PPE.
  • Navy Yard is set to produce 320,000 surgical gowns by the end of the month; 10,000 gowns ready for distribution by April 6.
  • No problem of NYPD staff shortages, as officers are recovering from COVID and returning to work.
  • Hundreds of hotels are expected to be retrofitted by the time the pandemic is over.
April 5, 2020
Governor’s Update

During the Governor’s press conference, he announced,

  • “Surge + flex” – patients must be balanced across hospitals depending on capacity, hospitals will share supplies, and hospitals should anticipate having supplies to last only a few days.
  • Federal government is deploying 1,000 health care personnel to New York.
  • Crime rates are down across the board; non-COVID-19 hospitalizations have been decreasing.
Mayoral Update

During his press briefing, he announced,

  • Hospital for Special Surgery and Memorial Sloan Kettering have agreed to take non-COVID-19 patient transfers from H+H in their specialty areas.
  • Follow-up by the City for individuals released from jail due to COVID-19 will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • DOE’s guidance to prohibit the use of Zoom and Google video conferencing was done in an effort to protect students’ privacy, and it’s intended to be a gradual shift, not immediate.
April 4, 2020
Governor’s Update

During the Governor’s press conference, he announced,

  • Signing of an Executive Order to allow medical students who were slated to graduate this year to begin practicing.
  • China sent 1,000 ventilators to NYC; Oregon sent 140.
  • Marijuana legalization and gig economy regulations too complex to include in this budget.
April 3, 2020
Federal Update

U.S. SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPA) is now live.

  • PPA is for any small businesses with fewer than 500 employees, private non-profit organizations or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by coronavirus/COVID-19.
  • Applicants can apply through any existing SBA lender, any Federally insured depository institution or credit union, or participating Farm Credit System. Find eligible lenders here.
  • Lenders are processing loan applications from April 3 through June 30, 2020.
  • See PPP borrower application form here.
  • For additional information, see the U.S. Department of Treasury’s PPP fact sheet here.
Governor’s Update

At the Governor’s press conference, he announced,

  • Executive Order to allow NYS to redistribute ventilators and PPE among hospitals
  • Javits Center will now only service COVID-19 patients.
  • State will cover initial production costs for companies manufacturing PPE, masks, face shields.
  • State will work with NYPD to remedy staff shortage
  • State will help women in need relocate to safe shelter in response to the uptick in domestic violence reports.
State Legislation Update

Assembly introduction of a bill to expand coverage of business interruption insurance to include pandemics.

Kasirer strategizing and building coalition to support passage.. State Senate has not yet introduced a version of this bill. See full text of the bill here.

State Budget Update

The state budget includes five updates likely to affect the NYC real estate market:

  • Companies that qualify for the Relocation and Employment Assistance Program (REAP) receive a $3,000 city tax break for 12 years for each job created in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island and northern Manhattan.
  • One-year extension of the film industry tax credit, keeping it funded through 2025; reimbursement rate was dropped from 30% to 25%.
  • Extension of the Excelsior tax credit through 2029, including a new Green Economy tax credit of up to 7.5% for companies that create green jobs.
  • No new fees or increases on second homes in Manhattan, despite support from state lawmakers.
  • NYPD’s tow pound at Pier 76 will be turned over to the Hudson River Park Trust for purposes of expansion, potentially including new office buildings.
  • For more information, see Crain’s article here.
State Budget Update

Prevailing wage expansion.

The state budget included the following exemptions to the State’s prevailing wage expansion:

  • Housing:
  • Affordable Housing- 25% of the units have to be deemed affordable for a minimum duration of 15 years.
  • Supportive Housing- 35% of the units have to be deemed supportive and intending to serve vulnerable populations.
  • Private Residential Work- 1-2 family dwellings that are owner occupied with less than 4 units.
  • 421-A projects in New York City.
    • Development:
      • Historical Preservation redevelopment projects.
      • Brownfield incentives are excluded but the actual project itself could still be subjected to prevailing wages.
  • Education:
  • NYCDOE leased spaces of 60,000 sq ft or less.
  • Small Business:
  • NYCEDC small business incubation programs with a fit out of less than 10,000 sq ft.
  • FRESH program supermarket retail space administered through the NYC IDC
  • NYS incentives, such as the Downtown Revitalization Initiative Grants and Regional Revolving Loan Trust Fund.
  • Non-Profits:
  • Non-profits with gross annual revenue less than $5m.
State Budget Update

Industrial and Commercial Abatement Program (ICAP) included in the state budget.

As part of a coalition, Kasirer was successful in getting the state budget to include the reauthorization of important tax incentive programs, including ICAP, Relocation and Employment Assistance Program (REAP) and Lower Manhattan Relocation Assistance Program (LM-REAP), until 2025.

Mayoral Update

During the Mayor’s press briefing, he announced,

  • Support for Governor’s Executive Order calling on private companies to release ventilators and PPE; NYPD, FDNY, and Sheriff’s Office will support these efforts.
  • They will be targeting specific industries to acquire the supplies, such as construction, manufacturing, private health care (cosmetic surgery, etc.).
  • EDC has developed a plan to produce ventilators locally.
  • Face coverings will be delivered to public facilities, such as correctional facilities and public housing.
  • FEMA is supporting the City in addressing the uptick in deaths; he has no plans to use inmates to support burial needs.
  • The City will be leasing a hotel on Staten Island to house health care workers, given the expansion of facilities. This hotel may be converted into a hospital.
Mayoral Update

On WNYC’s Brian Lehrer show, the Mayor announced,

  • New guidance from DOH-MH to wear a face covering when in public.
  • Federal government should order a national enlistment of private health care workers.
  • 99 cent stores should be considered essential as they offer affordable necessities.
  • Parks will remain open.
  • After calling on the state to suspend the Rent Guidelines Board process, which will freeze rent on rent-controlled apartments, they are looking into a moratorium for non-rent-controlled units and proposals to use security deposits to cover rent payments.
Agency Update: Department of Buildings

Weekly safety inspection reports and new customer service office hours.

  • Effective Saturday, April 4, 2020, Weekly Safety Inspection Reports must be submitted online, and all DOB customer service locations will close at 2:00 pm for drop-offs and in-person transactions.
  • See service notice here.
Agency Update: Department of Buildings (DOB)

Essential construction.

  • DOB released an online interactive map of essential and emergency construction sites, which identifies sites that are allowed to continue working. To see the map, click here.