‘Bronx Is Burning’ Days Could Return To NYC

Published on June 06, 2013, 6:56 pm
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Aaron Sirulnick has been elected chairman of the Rent Stabilization Association Board of Directors.

RSA announced Wednesday that Sirulnick succeeds Arnold Goldstein, who served as chairman of the Board of New York City’s largest organization of building owners of rent-stabilized apartments since 1985.

RSA is comprised of a diverse melting pot of 25,000 building owners of nearly one million rent-stabilized apartments in the five boroughs. The majority are small property owners, most of them immigrants, in the outer boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.

Board members elected Sirulnick in a unanimous vote during Wednesday afternoon’s monthly Board of Directors meeting at RSA’s Manhattan offices.

Sirulnick is a veteran of the residential rental housing industry whose leadership role as a long-time member of both RSA’s Board of Directors (since 1993) and Executive Committee (since 2000) has been instrumental in housing policy changes that have assisted small building owners in maintaining their properties and navigating often stifling government bureaucracy.

Sirulnick praised Mr. Goldstein for the exceptional leadership and steady guidance he has provided to RSA and its diverse membership during his 28-year tenure as chairman of the Board – singling out 1984-85 when Goldstein guided RSA in the complex transition from a quasi-public entity to its current private trade association status. Under  Goldstein’s leadership, RSA, he said, has become the widely recognized and highly respected voice and strong advocate of small building owners of rent-stabilized properties.

Sirulnick, who serves as president and director of management of the real estate investment company P. Sirulnick & Son/Ditmas Management Corporation – a family business founded by his great-grandfather in 1909 – laid the foundation of what to expect during his tenure.

“Small building owners provide quality housing to middle class and working families. They reinvest the rent in their buildings for repairs, upgrades, heating oil and other expenses,” Sirulnick said. “In addition, their property tax and water and sewer payments support police, fire, education, parks, libraries, sanitation and other city services. This is one industry that both the city and state can count on, even in bad economic times.

“A strong partnership between our industry and Albany and City Hall is imperative because we fuel the city and state’s economic engines – and, equally important, we maintain and provide solid, quality housing.”

He added, “Without a meaningful plan and genuine partnership, we are headed on a destructive path that over the next 10 to 15 years will bring deterioration of affordable housing stock, especially in the outer boroughs and upper Manhattan. If small building owners are unable to provide quality housing, who will?”

Sirulnick said this partnership begins in Albany with a State Legislature that must be willing to implement creative incentives that provide property owners with the wherewithal to improve and upgrade the 70-plus-year-old rental-housing infrastructure. Anything short of this, he warned, could plunge New York City into a Detroit-like landscape or a repeat of the Bronx of the 1970s.

Sirulnick is a member of the Community Housing Improvement Program (C.H.I.P.), of which he is also a former President (2005-07) and Chairman of the Board (2008-12). He is also a member of the Small Property Owners of New York (SPONY) and the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY).

Upon graduating in 1989 from the University of Colorado, Sirulnick joined the family business as a fourth-generation member of P. Sirulnick & Son/Ditmas Management Corp., following in the footsteps of his great-grandfather, grandfather and father.

Sirulnick supports numerous education, health care and community-based charitable organizations, among them The Mount Sinai Hospitals, Horace Mann School, UJA Federation, and The Carl Schurz Park Conservancy.

Sirulnick, 45, and his wife of 17 years, Joanna, reside in New York City with their two children.


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