NEW YORK CITY—It has been said that when times are good, while it’s easy to simply bask in the glow, it’s the ideal moment to focus on fixing what’s in a state of disrepair. That maxim could be applied to New York City,RXR Realty chairman and CEO Scott Rechler said Tuesday in Midtown during a talk to the Association for a Better New York.
The city is currently riding a great wave but needs a number of improvements, he asserted. But Rechler’s speech included a caveat—the issues plaguing New York City need to be fixed not with old methods but with innovative plans.
“New York is in a golden age,” he declared. “Both population and job growth are at record high levels, as is tourism. The best and the brightest want to live, work and play here.”
But, he cautioned, “We need to be cautious about New York becoming a victim of its own success. The increased population is overwhelming the capacity of our infrastructure. We don’t have a demand problem, have a supply problem and if don’t find creative ways to address it, we won’t have the demand. We can’t solve these 21st century problems with 20th century solutions.”
In terms of updating the transportation system, he suggested increased reliance on public/private partnerships—such as those backing the Tappan Zee and Goethals Bridge repairs—synching all regional transportation systems to one fare card; congestion pricing and even creating an App whereby commuters could discover what lines are crowded at particular lines, hopefully cutting down on overcrowding.
Also the vice chairman of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, Rechler suggested the addition of a bus terminal—akin to the Port Authority Terminal on the city’s West Side—in New Jersey, and possibly sell the land under the New York site to fund that terminal and an already planned new terminal in Manhattan.
On the office front, Rechler said, “we have underused properties that could be repurposed. He cited Hudson Yards as a place this is happening.
Further he noted, “We need to rethink iconic buildings.” RXR has capital improvement plans in place at 230 Park Ave.—its newest acquisition—as well as at 75 Rockefeller Plaza and Pier 57. “You can’t get locations like this with new construction, we need to leverage the assets we have.”
Then there’s the formidable task of affordable housing. As covered by GlobeSt.com in the past, RXR is focused on the urban sections of area suburbs such as Yonkers, New Rochelle and portions of Long Island. “These downtowns have suffered economically and can’t attract young people or the aging population; they need to be revitalized,” Rechler said. “This is the definition of thinking broader and having regional synergies.”
The RXR platform manages 61 commercial real estate properties and investments with an aggregate gross asset value of approximately $18.5 billion, comprising approximately 24.4 million square feet of commercial properties, inclusive of a multi-family residential portfolio of approximately 2,600 units under operation or development, and control of development rights for an additional approximately 3,700 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.