More than 160 business leaders – including 16 Real Estate Roundtable members – yesterday sent a letter to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urging him to address crime and deteriorating quality-of-life issues as part of the city’s efforts to ease pandemic restrictions, encourage economic recovery and reopen businesses. (New York Times and Forbes, Sept. 10)
- The letter states, “We need to send a strong, consistent message that our employees, customers, clients and visitors will be coming back to a safe and healthy work environment.” It adds that what must be confronted by city management is a “widespread anxiety over public safety, cleanliness and other quality of life issues that are contributing to deteriorating conditions in commercial districts and neighborhoods.” (Partnership for New York City letter, Sept. 10)
- The letter explains that if steps are not taken quickly to address security and other livability conditions, then people will be slow to return to the city and a establish a degree of normalcy.
- Mayor de Blasio responded on twitter yesterday, stating, “To restore city services and save jobs, we need long term borrowing and a federal stimulus — we need these leaders to join the fight to move the City forward.”
- One of the signatories of the letter, Roundtable Member Scott Rechler (Chairman & CEO, RXR Realty LLC and Trustee of the 9/11 Memorial Museum) appeared on CNBC’s Squawkbox this morning to discuss the business leaders’ concerns about the city’s economic recovery and reopening. (Rechler in photo above)
- “We don’t have a plan to build a brighter, better future for our city like we did post 9-11 and its eerily scary. While I know we have a crisis and its going to need support from the federal government, that’s not the only solution. We need to manage our city better,” Rechler stated during the Squawkbox interview.
- An op-ed in the New York Daily News today by Rechler also encourages individuals “to safely fill our city streets, our parks, our stores, our restaurants, and our business districts.” Rechler calls for a safe return, especially by those “… who stayed home or left the city to protect themselves and their loved ones by slowing the spread of the coronavirus.”
- New York City’s coronavirus infection rate has been reduced to a low level in recent months after a phased reopening of its economy started in June. The infection rate in the city has been below 1% for more than one month, due to strict emergency regulations. (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 11 and New York Gov. Cuomo’s website, Sept. 9)
Rechler’s op-ed adds, “Every lawyer, software engineer and banker working in New York’s office buildings supports five additional service jobs in retail, restaurants and small businesses, but this partnership, hundreds of thousands of jobs and livelihoods, falls apart if we all stay home.”
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