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Related, RXR, SL Green Try To ‘Guilt Trip’ Employers To Return To Office


Facing empty office buildings for months on end, New York City landlords are trying to cajole the city’s biggest companies into sending workers back to their desks.

“I’ve been really pushing the CEOs to bring people back into the office,” Related Cos. CEO Jeff Blau told Bloomberg. “I’ve been using a little bit of guilt trip and a little bit of coaxing.”

Blau, along with RXR Realty CEO Scott Rechler, Rudin Management CEO Bill Rudin and SL Green CEO Marc Holliday, are ringing the heads of companies, telling them it is their duty to reopen offices or New York City will slide into “decay,” Bloomberg reports. The real estate honchos have been targeting Goldman Sachs, Blackstone and BlackRock, along with law firms and tech giants like Microsoft. 

Related, like other major landlords, has been bringing its employees back to work since Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave the green light for offices to reopen. The landlords are said to be pushing to create a “Get Back to Business” campaign and are toeing the line that workers going back to the office will keep small businesses alive and service workers in jobs.

“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,” Blau told Bloomberg. 

While New York City’s case numbers have dropped significantly, many people are still wary of the office and taking the subway — particularly as the coronavirus has spiked in other parts of the country. Commercial offices in New York City have been allowed to open since late June, but many operators have said few workers have actually returned to work. What’s more, there could be some long-term impacts, as many employers reassess their office footprint.

Roughly one in four office employers are planning to shrink their office space by a minimum of 20%, according to a Partnership for New York City report. About 16% plan to move jobs out of the city.

As companies withdraw, a flood of sublease space is expected to hit the office market in coming months, as Bisnow previously reported.

“The landlords have to be optimistic, they are going to be pushing and working hard to make things come back — but they are in a very difficult situation, and if you talk to them privately, as opposed to publicly, they understand they are in deep trouble," Partnership for New York City CEO Kathryn Wylde said on Bisnow’s podcast last month.

Meanwhile, many companies are anxious to protect their employees from falling ill. The Carlyle Group is expecting workers to avoid public transport in their commutes as it reopens offices. If they do use public transport, employees are being asked to work from home for two weeks afterward, according to the Financial Times.