Long Island Can Draw Business (The Island Now)

Scott Rechler, the chairman and chief executive officer of RXR Realty, said at a speaking engagement in Old Westbury on Wednesday that despite Long Island’s high cost of living and history of businesses moving out of state, the area already has the amenities necessary to attract modern companies and workers.

Long Island needs to revitalize its downtown areas, Rechler told an audience at the Long Island Real Estate Group’s networking breakfast at the Old Westbury Golf & Country Club, and redevelop the parts of its communities that once stood as cultural touchstones bridging business and leisure.

“We have to be able to make this work,” said Rechler, who is also vice chairman of the Port Authority and serves on the board of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. “This is not a regional problem, this is a Long Island problem, a suburban problem. We have gold we need to mine.”

RXR Realty has approximately $7.3 billion in interests in 88 properties throughout the New York area, according to Rechler’s presentation materials, including an ongoing project to construct a $300 million, 244-unit Ritz Carlton condominium complex within the Village of North Hills.

Success in the real estate industry, Rechler said, depends on one’s ability to know its customer, the markets in which its customer lives and works as well as how the social, economic and geopolitical climates could impact the properties it oversees.

Though the median age of the Long Island resident has increased in recent years, and 55 percent of young adults here still live with their parents, Rechler said, Long Island has amenities like a strong quality-of-life, safety, schools, beaches, parks, transportation and an educated workforce that would be attractive to businesses seeking to relocate operations.

He also said Long Island’s proximity to New York City – which he touted for being able to attract the most talented employees and the most successful companies despite having an even higher cost of living – will always create an opportunity to lure workers to living in the suburbs.

“We have the capacity to make this happen, Rechler said. “We know the ingredients. We’ve seen it happen.”

But Rechler said the Long Island needs to more thoroughly incorporate rental housing – which he said makes up 21 percent of the homes in Nassau and Suffolk counties – into its real estate market to coincide with a national trend of people choosing to rent homes rather than buy.

“We need to create an environment where people are going to want to live,” Rechler said. “You get that talent here, you’ll get the companies to come here.”

Published: June 26, 2014
Filed Under: Community Relations

The RXR platform manages 72 commercial real estate properties and investments with an aggregate gross asset value of approximately $17.7 billion, comprising approximately 23.1 million square feet of commercial operating properties and approximately 6,300 multi-family and for sale units in various stages of development in the New York Metropolitan area. Gross asset value compiled by RXR Realty in accordance with company fair value measurement policy and is comprised of capital invested by RXR and its partners, as well as leverage.