June 13, 2011
By Abigail B. Mitchell
On Wednesday June 8th, members of the Building Congress gathered at the New York Hilton for their annual Construction Industry Breakfast Forum.
Kenneth Adams, President and CEO of the Empire State Development Corporation and Commissioner of the NYC Department of Economic Development, gave the keynote address to over 100 construction professionals and local officials.
In his speech, Adams covered several topics, including property tax reform, ethics reform, and same sex marriage, all which he considers of “vital importance…to the business community for econ development and for construction opportunities.”
Adams emphasized the importance of public-private collaboration in construction, showing examples of development projects such as Columbia University’s Manhattanville expansion, the Atlantic Yards, and Moynihan Station in downtown Manhattan.
“We are…certainly open for business,” Adams told audience members. “In this era of limited government resources the only way to get by is through public-private partnerships.”
“We’ve got to do much more to improve the states business climate,” Adams said. “This is a state that is not known for being business friendly.”
Building Congress president Richard Anderson also echoed this sentiment.
“The public work that has sustained this industry is starting to slip,” Anderson said. “The only way to avoid this is to come up with revenue.”
Adams sees these sources of revenue in new projects for the many academic institutions and public works organizations in New York.
“There are great assets that this state has that we need to more effectively leverage,” he said.
After Adams’ speech, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney expanded on the importance of transportation for new development, citing the new high speed rail proposed for New York State. “To appreciate these [development sites] we have to get to them.”
Anderson and the Building Congress were pleased with Adams’ presentation. “Every part of the state needs to have important, economic projects in place, and Ken has highlighted that.”