Richard Kessler

Richard Kessler

Richard Kessler

COO at Benenson Capital Partners

Richard Kessler
By November 1, 2022 10:00 AM

How much longer can this go on?

Barring a negative event — a different variant or perhaps a vaccine-resistant variant — I would say another six months. I believe we are coming to the end of constant life under the threat of pandemic.

What does normal look like?

I think we will have two forms of normal — an early normal and a late normal. Early normal means that everyone returns to the office for a minimum of three days per week. I anticipate that to last for the next year or two. Then we will have a late normal, which is when we return to four to five days per week in the office.

If you could go back in time to March of 2020, what’s the first thing you would do?

Looking back, I think I would do everything the same another time around. Our actions and policies enabled us to maintain our business, keep our employees safe and employed, keep our tenants happy, and also keep our families safe and well. That is the best outcome possible given the immense challenges we faced.

What do you do now that you never did before 2020?

We are a 116-year-old company, so we were very traditional, very conservative, very set in our patterns and procedures. 2020 brought change, and we responded by becoming more modern, more technologically savvy and more open to new ideas for our business practices.

On the personal side, I can report that the pandemic has made me much more health-conscious and more active. I carve out time to either cycle, swim or run almost every day — not bad for 65!

What’s the biggest threat to the return to normal?

New York City faces many threats. Perhaps the biggest threat is a new and vaccine-resistant variant. Other threats include anti-vaccinators, crime, homelessness and a dirty city.

Is now the time to buy or sell?

Both. To be a good investor you need to be opportunistic. At any time, there are some properties and property types you ought to be buying and others you could be selling.

Suddenly, there’s a big change to the New York state constitution and you’re now named the 58th governor of the Empire State — what do you do about the eviction moratorium?

Repeal it.

Lightning round

Eric Adams or Curtis Sliwa? 

Eric Adams.

Last time you got on an airplane, what was your destination?

Oct. 10, 2021, to Seattle.

What vax did you get? 

Pfizer.

Your go-to takeout?

Amish Market and Sweetgreen.

Where does your patience wear thinnest — evictions or anti-vaxxers?

Both, but especially with anti-vaxxers because they hurt all of us.