The Rooftops Conference NYC

The Rooftops Conference NYC 2017
Friday, March 31, 2017

Save the Date to Join Us!

The Rooftops Conference NYC 2017, to be held on Friday, March 31st, will be our seventh annual symposium for the not-for-profit sector focused on the role of real estate — owned, leased, or hosted physical space — in the operations, financial performance, and achievement of mission by not-for-profit organizations of all sizes and mission types.

Panelists from the not-for-profit sector, the real estate industry, and the professions will explore themes illustrating how not-for-profit executives, staff, and board members can collaborate in addressing real estate and space needs in achieving their organizations’ core objectives. The Conference is a forum for meaningful discussion and also a chance to interact with peers in the social sector and the real estate industry. Whether you are involved in real estate and space decisions every day or once in a while, you’ll hear something new that may validate, challenge, or even change your approach. We hope you will join us!

The Conference will again be held at New York Law School, 185 West Broadway, New York.


Click here to register. Space is limited and early registration is encouraged. For questions you may call 212.431.2306.

Who Should Attend?

Not-for-Profit Executives and Staff ~ Board Members ~ Volunteers ~ Lawyers

Real Estate Industry and Social Sector Professionals ~ Donors and Funders

Government Officials and Staff


Friday, March 31, 2017  *  8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.


New York Law School  *  185 W. Broadway, New York, NY 10013
(at the intersection of West Broadway and Leonard)


Welcome and Introductory Remarks

Conference Moderator: James Hagy, Distinguished Adjunct Professor and Director of The Rooftops Project, New York Law School

Building Effective Collaborations: Mission-Focused Properties, Urban Neighbors

Whether an organization has been in the same location for decades, is selecting a new site on which to build, or is leasing space for a new location, collaborations are inevitable and important at multiple levels and with multiple stakeholders. What makes for the most effective collaborations among not-for-profit staff, board, and outside advisors? How do those served by the organization, as well as its funders, fit into the project puzzle? And what makes for strong working relationships with government and the broader community in not-for-profit real estate and facilities projects? What effects does a not-for-profit have as a neighbor, an employer, and an investor in neighborhoods in which it is present? How should not-for-profits take these factors into account when making decisions about locations and facilities?

Susanna S. Fodor, Partner, Scarola Malone & Zubatov
Alice Korngold, CEO, Korngold Consulting
Elizabeth R. Leber, AIA, LEED AP, Partner, Beyer Blinder Belle
Ron Ries CPA CGMA, Senior Advisor, Mazars USA LLP
Jennifer Swayne, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, Brooklyn Community Services

Brooklyn Navy Yard

Representatives of Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, a mission-driven not-for-profit which develops and operates an approximately 300-acre modern industrial park on the Brooklyn waterfront, will present on exciting developments at the Navy Yard. Venable LLP, which represented the Navy Yard in its recent Admirals Row transaction, will join the discussion about the importance of mission, culture, community, and sustainability as any not-for-profit pursues and executes mission-centric projects. The panel will include an overview of the Navy Yard and a case study of recent projects that illustrate these themes.

Michael Phillipou, Partner, Venable LLP
Sukanya Paciorek, Executive Vice President and Head of Asset Management, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation

MORNING/LUNCH BREAKOUT SESSIONS (guests will be able to select three)

Where You Sit: Workplace Planning and Design

From traditional offices, to open plan workspaces, to telecommuting, the ways and habits by which we connect and conduct our work drives every aspect of how space supports mission for not-for-profit organizations. Whether you own, lease, or share space, thoughtful planning and interior design can make a difference far beyond an order for walls and seats. Our panel will explore how the design process and recent trends can inform existing and new space commitments, limit costs, express mission and brand, and promote effective and healthy workplaces for employees and guests.

Moderator: Larry Serota, Executive Vice President, Tenant Advisory: Office, Transwestern
Jamie Feuerborn, Director of Workplace Strategy, Ted Moudis Associates
Alan J. Horwitz, AIA, LEED AP BD + C, Director of Architecture Firmwide and Managing Director, New Jersey Office, G3 Architecture
Adam Stoltz, Senior Vice President, Tenant Advisory: Office, Transwestern

On the Mark: Process, Benefits, and Challenges When Your Not-for-Profit Property is Landmarked

What is landmark status? What is the process for how properties become voluntarily (or involuntarily) landmarked? What are the reasons an organization might wish to seek landmark designation? When and why might an organization wish to resist landmark status? What should organizations consider when purchasing (or accepting a gift of) a landmarked property? This session will look at the benefits, the drawbacks, and the practical and cost implications of owning, operating, maintaining, repairing, and improving a property that now has or may be likely for future landmark status. The session will also consider the interaction and potential conflicts between landmark preservation and the also worthy goals of improving accessibility and ADA upgrades both to the facade and entrance and the building generally.

Moderator: Erin Felker Bond, Assistant Dean, Academic Program Development, and Adjunct Professor, Center for Real Estate Studies, New York Law School
Valerie G. Campbell, Counsel, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
Eugene Travers, Associate, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

A Faculty for Facilities: Assessing and Forecasting for Operations, Repairs, Refurbishments, Adaptive Reuse

Owned and leased space represents a significant ongoing commitment of time and budget resources to manage, operate, and maintain. How may not-for-profit organizations conduct facilities assessments that will provide a better sense of upcoming short- and long-term maintenance and repairs? How can they forecast and address not only the next repair or refurbishment projects on the horizon, but also those seemingly constant surprises that crop up once next year’s budget has already been set? And how can organizations assess whether and how to acquire and adapt properties that have been designed for other purposes and had other lives? Our panel will discuss approaches that can be adopted with organizations and properties of all sizes and missions, drawing from recent project experiences for missions as different as arts organizations, to special needs recreation facilities, to places of worship, and adapting everything from a former state prison to a tavern patronized by George Washington.

Jeremy L. Havens, Havens Law Firm
John Syversten, FAIA

Can This Be … Less Taxing?

The opportunities for not-for-profit organization to understand, manage, and appropriately minimize tax in connection with capital projects and real estate occupancy and operations go well beyond the basics of exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service and state and local real estate taxes. Moreover, many of the answers are uniquely different state to state. Are you qualified for, and maximizing, exemptions from state and local sales and use taxes to which your organization may be entitled? What about taxes included in maintenance, repair, or renovation projects for which you may hire outside contractors or suppliers? What questions should you have about the myriad of taxes embedded in your utility and telecommunications bills? Why might real estate be only partially exempt, and how is it then valued? How are special assessments for government infrastructure projects treated? How may related charges, such as water or sewer services, be handled? Are real estate taxes inevitable for not-for-profits as tenants of commercial buildings? This session will provide broad-ranging examples that may send you thinking about your own operations – and your tax bills!

Glenn Newman, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Elliott B. Pollack, Member, Pullman & Comley LLC

From the Back of the Napkin to Ribbon-Cutting: How Not-for-Profits Can Get It Built on Schedule and on Budget

This session will discuss best practices for structuring your not-for-profit organization’s construction project from the outset, starting with picking your internal and external teams, through planning,
financing and fundraising, and all the way to the ribbon-cutting, to maximize your chances of completing on budget and on schedule.

Michael Phillipou, Partner, Venable LLP

To Market, To Market

Whether you are a tenant leasing space, or the owner (or future owner) of property, current rental costs and property sales prices can affect your organization’s planning and performance. Our panel will provide an overview and insights on market conditions in New York’s five boroughs, one of the world’s priciest cities. The session will also offer an executive overview of the upcoming changes in how operating leases will be treated for financial reporting purposes as a result of recent guidance issued by the Financial Accounting Standard Board (FASB). The overview will address the possible implications for balance sheets and financial covenants, and the panel will react to industry speculation about the potential future effect of the FASB guidance on the commercial leasing market.

Ethan Kahn, CPA, Partner, Not-for-Profit Group, Mazars USA LLP
Richard Warshauer, Senior Managing Director, Colliers International NYC LLC

1:30 p.m. Reception

Our reception offers a chance, over dessert and beverages, to meet peers and to chat with our speakers, panelists, faculty, and students involved in The Rooftops Project.


More information about this and other Rooftops Project programming can be found by visiting: