Kasirer Spotlight, Charlie Samboy

Kasirer Spotlight:
Charlie Samboy

Kasirer Spotlight is a Q&A that features our remarkable team members. Learn about their background, experience, and perspectives on government and politics.

Charlie Samboy is Vice President on Kasirer’s Real Estate team and is the lead account manager for clients that develop affordable housing, healthcare facilities, life science laboratories and large-scale energy transmission infrastructure, among others.

Charlie Samboy Kasirer Spotlight

You joined Kasirer after a year at the New York Building Congress and over 6 years at the NYC Economic Development Corporation. How have those experiences supported your work now on the real estate team at Kasirer?

I started my career in this line of work while at the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) on their government & community relations team, which was very akin to private real estate lobbying in that you’re helping get projects through the same land use process. The main difference at EDC, however, was that your singular client is the city of New York. It was a good educational and professional experience to learn the ins and outs of the land use process, diverse negotiating strategies, advocacy tactics and city policies related to economic development, housing, workforce development, et cetera. When I began at EDC, I oversaw projects in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan, and it was exciting to work on projects that I knew would have a meaningful impact on neighborhoods that I grew up in. After six years, I joined the New York Building Congress in February 2021 as their Director of Government Affairs, and it was a great place to learn about the construction and development industries. Construction work opens a lot of doors for people that traditionally don’t have a college degree and having technical skills is something that will never go out of style (I know this firsthand as a former airplane mechanic). The industry also depends on architects, lawyers, engineers, and other professionals who work behind the scenes – all of whom are necessary to have the built environment that we do today. In all, it served as a classroom to learn more about New York City, how it has evolved and the work it takes to help the city continue to grow into the future. These were invaluable experiences that benefit me in my role at Kasirer.

You represent clients who are leaders in affordable housing, and the Mayor and Governor have recently announced some very ambitious affordable housing goals. What is a takeaway from your experience working with affordable housing developers that could help developers as they try to build more housing across the city?

One thing I’ve learned is that there has to be a conversation about bringing more to the table than just housing, but also taking into consideration the larger community. For instance, about office-to-residential conversions, and while I wholeheartedly agree that empty offices could and should be converted to some other use that’s more productive, people still need grocery stores, schools, barber shops, et cetera. Developers have a unique opportunity to create new, livable neighborhoods and bring more amenities to residents, and both government and the private sector broaden the discussion to advance land use actions and tax incentives that will foster the creation of housing and other uses where they previously did not exist. I believe the private and public sectors both have much to offer in co-creating new residential districts across the five boroughs that can thrive 24/7, but the discussions cannot solely focus on the creation of housing units.

You also work with large healthcare institutions throughout New York. How can the city help the industry tackle some of the most pressing issues they are facing today?

Post-pandemic, unfortunately, but not surprisingly, there’s a lot of discussion about burnout from workers in the healthcare industry. We need more people in the healthcare profession, but the private sector can only do so much to either attract or train people to get into the industry. Thankfully, the city and state are both taking steps to address the shortage of nursing and then should expand these programs to reach more New Yorkers. Last year, the governor launched full-tuition scholarships for 1,000 aspiring nurses that attend CUNY or SUNY and this year the mayor announced a significant nursing education initiative in partnership with CUNY to support 30,000 current and aspiring nurses. Our government leaders have recognized this challenge and I believe a coordinated city, state and federal government intervention could support tens of thousands of students with larger scholarships and expanded grant programs for careers in healthcare; tackling the nurse/healthcare worker shortage as a national emergency sort of speak.

Our city is facing some economic challenges in the coming year. How can the private sector help our city overcome these issues?

Two items that are consistently discussed are the disparity between executive compensation and the average worker, and the benefits/shortcomings of a return to office culture. On compensation, last year a law requiring salary transparency went into effect, so for any job posted in New York City, the company must provide a salary range. That has created an awareness of what people are earning at different levels and has created open competition between employers seeking similarly skilled workers. Companies will have to offer more competitive packages to reduce vacancies, as extended vacancies impact productively and causes more burn out for other fulltime staff.

On return to office, companies will have to build in flexibility as well as create an office culture that affirms the value of working in-person. Workers today are negotiating with their managers on whether daily commutes into central business districts add value; similarly, employers are asking themselves if office rents are worth it. C-suite leaders have a very important role to play in creating conditions that make people want to stay in New York and at their specific company for a healthy length of time. If we continue to see people leaving companies because of wage issues or due to lack of flexibility, we’re going to be starved of tax revenue and see extended vacancies – all of which hurts the city’s ability to rebound fully.

Do you have a favorite hobby or a fun fact you want to share?

One fun fact is that I’m a licensed airplane mechanic, a trade I learned in high school, and I worked in the industry for nearly a decade before transitioning to government. Growing up my favorite movie was Top Gun with Tom Cruise, and ever since then I wanted to work on airplanes – a dream that came true when I graduated from Aviation High School.

Outside of work, I enjoy lots of outdoor activities – I’ve completed 4 marathons and last year finished a 101-mile Gran Fond (cycling event). I also golf and hike when the weather’s good. I have an unwritten bucket list goal of learning a new skill/hobby every year. This year I’m hoping to take up wall/rock climbing.