Rob Speyer's To-Do List
Tishman Speyer's co-CEO wants Midtown East rezoned and business and labor to become friends before an unknown mayor steps up to the plate in 2014. And that brings us to the new REBNY chairman's third goal: play a part in that election.
Rob (whom we snapped yesterday with Corcoran's Karen Shaw at an AREW lunch)says REBNY isn't likely to endorse a candidate, but it and the 32BJ property service workers union will host joint forums with each one to get their real takes. They also want to communicate that the City can't drive a wedge betweenthese two special interests. Rob intends to get closer to other unions, noting that business and labor have things in common (econ dev, infrastructure, immigration). Don't buy it? He recalls Lew and Jack Rudin's economically helpful embrace of labor in the '70s. On immigration, Robsays NYC will get a disproportionate number of workers once federal immigration reform occurs--and that'll be the greatest thing to help regenerate the city's economy.
Rob is particularly anxious to get approval for more density in Midtown East before the initiative gets lost among a new mayor's other priorities. He and unions bond over the new jobs it'll bring, and he says five have already joined REBNY for those lobbying efforts. We assume he's also interested because rezoning could make the air rights for St. Patrick's Cathedral (we snapped the under-renovation landmark last week) available for trade. On the record, he says upzoning would ensure NYC can compete with global markets like Shanghai, where the government's infrastructure investment is "unprecedented."