Rechler: LI should follow NYC’s lead for recovery (LIBN)

One of Long Island’s most prolific real estate moguls says it will be a decade before the area can expect normalized economic growth following the recession.

But RXR Realty CEO Scott Rechler also added that the area’s roadmap to recovery should emulate the path taken by New York City to ensure success.

Speaking before a group of about 200 real estate industry professionals at Long Island Real Estate Group event at the Old Westbury Country Club on Wednesday, Rechler said Long Island needs to find a way to retain and attract talent so employers will want to be based here. He said New York City has already figured that out, creating a diversity of housing choices surrounded by a plethora of vibrant, walkable neighborhoods.

Boasting “all-time high employment levels,” New York City is flourishing, Rechler says, because a young, well-educated workforce wants to live and work there.

“Talent drives the success of New York City,” Rechler told the LIREG audience. “It’s the most competitive city in the world.”

Rechler said that in the past, people who came from the city used to go live in the suburbs for the quality of life. “Now,” he said, “it’s the inverse.”

Currently, Long Island is “ill-prepared to attract 21st century companies and workers,” Rechler said, mostly because the area doesn’t have enough rental housing — about half of the national average — and doesn’t offer an exciting lifestyle for young people.

“Fifty-five percent of 25 to 34-year-olds live with their parents on Long Island,” Rechler said. “And that’s not good for anyone.”

And though Rechler said there’s no silver-bullet solution to brain drain —“Google’s not coming to Long Island, folks,” he said — but if once-vibrant downtowns can be revitalized, the area will stand a fighting chance. He added that the Island’s proximity to New York City remains an invaluable resource.

“We have to be able to make this work,” Rechler said. “We have gold at our doorstep that we need to mine.”

In the last few years, Rechler, who also serves as vice chairman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, has certainly been digging that gold. He’s bolstered RXR’s Manhattan portfolio through a loan-to-own strategy, buying up debt to take ownership stakes in some major New York properties. RXR now controls more than 21.7 million square feet of commercial property worth some $8 billion

Published: June 26, 2014
Filed Under: Community Relations

The RXR operating platform manages 73 commercial real estate properties and investments with an aggregate gross asset value of approximately $17.9 billion, comprising approximately 23.4 million square feet of commercial operating properties and control of development rights for approximately 6,300 multi-family and for sale units 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.