New York property owners are begging the city's largest businesses to return to work.
Names like Goldman Sachs and BlackRock have been on the speed dials of New York landlords, who are reportedly reaching out to the businesses begging them to get back to work and, in turn, save the city's economy. The landlords have formed a "loose coalition" according to a new report by Bloomberg.
The group includes RXR Realty’s Scott Rechler, Rudin Management’s William Rudin and Marc Holliday of SL Green Realty. These landlords, facing a catastrophic collapse in the price of commercial real estate, argue that it's safe to return to work and that most NYC businesses simply can't survive a shutdown much longer. Some are even calling it the "patriotic" thing to do.
So far, the reception hasn't been overwhelming. And with every day that passes, it becomes a tougher sell. As businesses close up, there becomes less reason to return to work. As a result, landlords could see a major demand drought and prices could crater.
Jeff Blau, the head of Related Cos., said: “I’ve been really pushing the CEOs to bring people back into the office. I’ve been using a little bit of guilt trip and a little bit of coaxing.”
He continued: “I am watching the city decay as nobody is here. Now is not the time to abandon the city and expect it to be in the same way you wanted it when you get back in a year from now.”
The landlords are also reaching out to corporations like law firms and tech companies to assure them that their buildings are safe. They are promising to make whatever concessions renters want in terms of safety and are also petitioning the governor's office to start a "Get Back To Business" campaign.
But employers have to weigh the risks of sending employees back to work - at the same time that they just figured out the advantages of having their employees work from home. Many businesses have considered keeping the "work from home" model regardless of how the virus pans out.
Landlords argue that every commercial real estate spot also supports adjacent small businesses. Real estate companies are leading by example, recalling half of their workers and expecting the rest to return to work by next July.
“The CEOs of several companies I’ve talked to have mentioned that it’s a patriotic duty to have their people come back to the office,” Rudin commented.
Blau continued: “This place is a pain in the ass. It’s crowded and it’s not the easiest place to live. But you make that trade because it’s got so many great things. We want to make sure that it stays that way and people continue to make that trade and have those things to come back to.”
Rechler concluded: “We’re creating our own fate by not bringing people back and restarting the largest economic engine in the country. It’s as much of a civic obligation as anything else.”