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Construction Costs Through the Roof: What New York Can Do

Wednesday July 2008

Presenter: Rosemary Scanlon, Consultant in Urban and Regional Economics, Associate Professor of Economics, Real Estate Institute, New York University
Panelists: Mark E. Ginsberg, Partner, Curtis+Ginsberg Architects; Michael D. Lappin, President & CEO, Community Preservation Corporation; Barry B. LePatner, Partner, LePatner & Associates
Moderator: Hope Cohen, Deputy Director, Center for Rethinking Development

For decades, union headlock, traffic gridlock, and red tape have all contributed to New York City’s high costs of construction. And, in a city of islands, dry land is always at a premium. But in recent years, every component of building cost has shot up, as New York once again became a global city where seemingly everyone wants to live.

Paying for the high costs of housing tops the list of concerns for many New Yorkers, especially young labor-market entrants and lower-income workers. And without sufficient supply in all price ranges, New York could lose its competitive position nationally and internationally. Can New York bring down the costs of construction, making housing more affordable?

A new report by economist Rosemary Scanlon, Raise the Roof, Lower the Costs: Construction Costs and Housing Affordability in New York City, will be released by the Manhattan Institute. Architect Mark Ginsberg will discuss navigating the system, Community Preservation Corporation president & CEO Michael Lappin will comment from the viewpoint of the leading not-for-profit financier and developer of housing, and construction attorney and Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets author Barry LePatner will provide national context on industry capacity.