The Hudson Companies boss on building on Skid Row, competing in Sudoku tournaments, and his firm’s “arranged marriage” with Related
David Kramer (Photo by Studio Scrivo)
David Kramer is the president of Hudson Companies, one of the city’s largest affordable housing developers. The firm, which employs 50-plus people in its Greenwich Village office, ranked as the fourth most active developer in the five boroughs in 2018, with 1.9 million square feet across 10 projects, a recent tally by The Real Deal showed. Hudson has gained a reputation for pursuing large-scale projects since Kramer took the helm in 2011. Outside of affordable housing, the company has its share of market-rate developments, including the controversial luxury condo project at the site of the former Brooklyn Heights Public Library — which has a projected sellout of $478 million. In the Bronx, Kramer expects to wrap construction on the first building at his 1.1 million-square-foot mixed-use project La Central later this year. Hudson struck one of its biggest deals in the late 1990s to co-develop the nine-building Riverwalk housing complex on Roosevelt Island in a partnership with the Related Companies. That venture is ongoing. Kramer spent seven years working on low-income housing projects on L.A.’s Skid Row and in Venice, California, after landing a fellowship with the Coro foundation in the late 1980s. The native New Yorker and Yale graduate now lives with his wife and family in Brooklyn Heights.
DOB: September 16, 1965 Lives in: Brooklyn Heights Hometown: Upper West Side Family: Married with three children
How did you get into affordable housing? I trace the entire arc of my career to a letter I wrote to the editor of the New York Times that got published in 1987. It was a response to an editorial about the drinking age, which the state increased from 18 to 21 just as I had turned 18.
What did your letter say? “Let’s raise it to 40, we’ll save even more lives.” It got published the day my application to the Coro foundation was due, and so I casually taped the letter to my application, writing, as if this was a weekly occurrence, “And here’s my letter to the [Times] editor from today.”
And that was your big break? I strongly believe that got Coro’s attention. I started working for [nonprofits] in L.A. just as the affordable housing industry was taking off, because Reagan’s 1986 tax law had created the low-income housing tax credit. Neighborhood groups all over Los Angeles were creating nonprofit organizations, and there were jobs available. But there wasn’t a lot of experience. I walked in — and with some New York City fast talking — got hired to be a project manager at the Skid Row Housing Trust.
What was Skid Row like back then? How does it compare to the homeless crisis here in New York now? New York City ain’t nothing like Skid Row in the 1990s. There was body after body after body on the sidewalks. I m amazed that there’s now a Sm上海贵族宝贝