Scott Rechler

Scott Rechler.

Scott Rechler

CEO and chairman at RXR Realty

Scott Rechler
By November 15, 2021 10:00 AM

How much longer can this go on?

The bad news is that COVID-19, and other public health threats like it, are here to stay. This is the new normal. It is COVID-19 today, but it may be COVID-25 tomorrow. This is the reality we will continue to face moving forward.

The good news is that we now know how to safely coexist with the virus. We have the necessary tools with new vaccines and therapeutic innovations to better position us for those pathogens that we will inevitably face in the future.

What does normal look like?

We certainly won’t be returning to the world that existed pre-COVID. But we should have a whole new appreciation for the importance of investing in our health care systems and scientific research. The pandemic was an accelerant, with 10 years of new innovation developing in 10 months. COVID-19 has also made us more aware of the glaring inequities that exist in our city and in our country.

The COVID-19 experience proved, once again, just how resilient New York City can be — we not only bounce back from crises, but we find ways to reinvent our city into something that was better than before. The post-COVID recovery is an opportunity for the beginning of a new renaissance for New York City.

New York City is, and will be for the foreseeable future, the world’s capital for attracting talent. There is simply no other city in the country that can compete in terms of scale, diversity and culture. And, fortunately, talent is back in New York City. We have experienced record residential leasing activity in every month from April through August and we rank first in the country for move-ins this year.

Our streets are filled, our parks are filled, and our restaurants are filled once again. The lights on Broadway are shining bright and domestic tourists are coming in droves. And, as travel restrictions are finally lifted in November, we should expect even more people wanting to visit our great city.

At the same time, the “flight to quality” is more pronounced than ever. Since the onset of COVID-19, 81 percent of leasing activity has occurred in Class A office buildings compared to 69 percent from 2015 to 2019. This will likely result in a number of Class B and C buildings becoming competitively obsolete, which gives us the opportunity to convert these assets into other uses like residential, which our city desperately needs.

As a whole, the future of New York looks incredibly bright, and I look forward to supporting and helping our city’s recovery.

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

Wear a mask on the subway.

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

Allowing ideology to drive decisions about what’s best for our city. We all share the same goals — we want a safe city, we want to provide for our families, we want more opportunities for all New Yorkers, and we want a cleaner environment.

But empty political slogans or demonizing others will not solve our city’s challenges. If we have learned anything from this pandemic, it’s that by working together, we can deal with anything that comes our way. This same rule should apply to our recovery.

Is now the time to buy or sell?

It depends what type of product you are buying or selling. I would say, sell those buildings with credit tenants and long-term leases. But buy those buildings that will benefit from the recovery and the post-COVID mega-trends. 

At RXR, we recently sold an interest in a last-mile logistics facility and bought $2 billion worth of multifamily properties.

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?

I would recognize that our housing challenges are much bigger than the eviction moratorium.

Lightning round

Eric Adams or Curtis Sliwa?


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

Last week, it was Phoenix. In early October, it was Copenhagen. In November, it’s London. It feels so great to travel again and meet face-to-face with our partners.

What vax did you get?


Your go-to takeout?

My kitchen — I make a killer caramelized onion and goat cheese pizza.

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