Kent Swig, president of Swig Equities

NEW YORK CITY—“I'm a believer that if you incentivize people they respond better than with punishment,” said Kent Swig, the president of Swig Equities and SwigBurris Equities. He's also an owner and president of Helmsley Spear; owner and co-chairman of Terra Holdings which owns and operates Brown Harris Stevens, Halstead Property and Vanderbilt Holdings. Swig also owns Falcon Pacific Construction.

With his decades of real estate experience, he said, “Kids work the same way. If you give them an incentive they tend to be more responsive than if you punish them, so I would be incentivizing more affordable housing.”

Swig then suggested going to one of the largest boulevards, Queens Boulevard, which has good transportation, light and air, and dramatically upward rezoning it. “Build 25% to 30%, some steep amount of affordable housing in the program,” he said. “Do it on an incentive-based program that's open, transparent and available to everyone.”

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Betsy Kim

Betsy Kim was the bureau chief, East Coast, and New York City reporter for Real Estate Forum and As a lawyer and journalist, Betsy has worked as the director of editorial and content for LexisNexis, a TV/multi-media journalist for NBC and CBS affiliated TV stations in the Midwest, and an associate producer at Court TV.