Green Leads in Real Estate Green

But in Mayor’s Race, the Industry Hasn’t Picked a Horse Yet

The candidate least buoyed by real estate cash is Hevesi. Among his biggest donors are hotel developers, including the Apple Core chain, which has converted single-room occupancy buildings into tourist hotels; the Muss Development Company, which built the new Marriott in downtown Brooklyn and had a long labor dispute with its janitors; and ARCO, a real estate management firm that is often hired by the city to run distressed buildings. Among his biggest fundraisers is Queens developer Eugene Petracca, a major Giuliani backer.

Hevesi was the only candidate at a fall forum who did not consider housing a top priority, saying that it is more important to keep the economy buzzing, crime falling, and schools improving. The other candidates all advanced plans to build hundreds of thousands of units of affordable housing, and in fact housing advocates are gearing up to make that a central issue of the mayoral campaign.

"The problem of affordable housing these days is insane," says Irene Baldwin of the Association for Neighborhood Housing Development. Indeed, at least 500,000 tenant families spend more than half their gross income on rent, and 1 million could not afford the rents that are on the market today. "There's a new interest because we're looking at a political transition," says Baldwin. "Just the fact that the candidates are talking about it is in huge contrast to the Giuliani administration."

Research: Camila Gamboa, Jennifer Sain, Allegra Johnson

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