Senior Vice President Woody Victor Talks Real Estate Investment, the Senior Housing Crisis, and the Future of Housing in NYC
Woody Victor recently joined the Capalino team as Senior Vice President in the Land Use, Housing and Real Estate Group. He specializes in providing Real Estate Development Advisory services for our clients. Below, Woody elaborates on his background, the complex housing market, and the future of affordable and senior housing in New York City.
What were you doing prior to Capalino?
My career has been primarily in management consulting, finance and real estate. Prior to joining Capalino, I led the real estate development team for a not-for-profit affordable housing developer. Before that, I held senior roles at various investment and private equity firms.
Why affordable housing?
As a Bronx native and current Harlem resident, I have witnessed first-hand the tremendous challenges of finding an affordable place to live. The housing crisis in New York City is such a tough issue but with it comes great opportunity for the public and private sectors to come together and make an impact. Each project is an enormous undertaking but it is extremely rewarding to be a part of the process to leverage the public resources to benefit some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers. I would like to say my past roles in consulting, finance and non-profit have uniquely prepared me for the challenge.
What is your role at Capalino? Do you only focus on affordable housing?
I help run our Real Estate Development Advisory team within our greater Land Use, Housing and Real Estate practice group. I help clients come up with the optimal development scenario for their site which could consist of mixed use or residential affordable and/or market rate housing. We have a particular expertise in financial modeling and proformas, accessing construction and permanent financing and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), governmental relations, and tax abatements including 420c, 421a, and Article XI. While there usually is some kind of affordable or inclusionary component, we have a large number of market rate rental and condo clients as well.
Do you primarily work with large developers?
Actually, we work with both large and small developers and landowners. We add a ton of value to smaller developers such as faith-based organizations and not for profits who may not have the appropriate development expertise in house. We serve as their trusted advisor on executing their vision, which is usually more mission versus profit driven. We bridge the gap and leverage public dollars to make their plan financially viable. Ironically enough, we also find many larger market rate developers are looking to diversify into affordable housing so we help them navigate that process from start to finish.
You mentioned the larger Land Use, Housing and Real Estate practice group. What type of problems are you solving on those projects?
Capalino is the leader in land use planning services and has served many of the largest real estate development companies in New York City. We combine technical expertise and advice on land use planning with an effective government and community relations strategy to achieve favorable recommendations and determinations by the various stakeholders. Our clients get to market faster as we are the leader in expediting the myriad of community and municipal regulatory approvals and permits required before construction commencement and through occupancy.
We also provide significant pre-development support in preparation for the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) and environmental review for larger scale commercial and residential projects. Our success stories include complex and exciting projects such as Hudson Yards, the West Side Railyards, the Guggenheim and Chelsea Market, in addition to countless small and mid-size projects.
What do you think about the future of housing in New York?
NYC has one of the most diverse and complex housing markets in the world. We have some natural advantages in that NYC has generally favored density in residential developments whereas many rural and even urban areas are just now realizing the benefits of density in order to create more affordable housing and more open space. I see that trend continuing given the increasing land and construction costs, creativity of NYC developers, and historic levels of incentives and funding opportunities from the city and state. As a result, we will continue to see a rise in co-housing options, area re-zonings, and senior housing.
Can you elaborate on the senior housing piece?
As you may know, there is a huge senior housing crisis in our city because people are living longer and their fixed retirement incomes stretches very thin, especially in an expensive city such as ours.
Over three years ago, the City Council approved the zoning amendments referred to as Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) and one of its key provisions was AIRS (Affordable Independent Residences for Seniors). It allowed for the creation of a 20 percent floor area bonus applicable in most zoning districts to encourage the development of affordable housing for seniors. Most of the AIRS development to date has been not for profit sponsored housing with considerable HPD subsidies, rental assistance and longer development cycles. There has been little to no privately financed senior AIRS projects until very recently.
We worked very closely with the city on behalf of our clients to provide input on this issue. In July 2019, HPD issued the Privately Financed Affordable Senior Housing (PFASH) Term Sheet making available the provisions of the AIRS statute for privately financed projects. We should see a big uptick in affordable senior apartments as a result.
Given your finance background, what are your thoughts on real estate investment, in general?
I think we will also continue to see more institutional capital diversifying across various real estate asset types and business models given recent events. While there are some headwinds with the recent rent regulations that came out of Albany, the Opportunity Zone legislation and public agencies like NYCHA embracing the HUD RAD program will incentivize investment in the space. I am looking forward to helping our clients navigate these exciting times ahead.
To learn more about Capalino’s Land Use, Housing + Real Estate services and how we can help you succeed in New York City, contact Woody Victor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212.915.9175.
Land Use, Housing + Real Estate Services