NYC Landlord Urges Republicans Switch Party for Mayoral Primary

One of New York City’s biggest landlords is pushing New Yorkers to register as Democrats in time to vote in the party’s upcoming mayoral primary.

“We have gone out on a campaign to register as many Democrats, not because of ideology — you can register back the next day — but because we want everyone to have a say in the election, to vote and have their vote count,” Jeff Blau, chief executive officer of Hudson Yards developerRelated Cos., said at a Bloomberg-sponsored event Thursday.

The majority of New Yorkers are Democrats, so the winner of the party’s June primary is likely to be the city’s next mayor, Blau said. Unaffiliated voters, or those now declared as independent or Republicans, have until Feb. 14 to change their registration.

New York real estate and finance leaders have touted the importance of local leadership in reviving a city that’s been reeling from the pandemic. Since March, many New Yorkers have fled for cheaper cities with lower taxes and have blamed recent crimespikes on inaction by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“There’s never been a more important race on a local level,” Blau said. “If you look at New York and San Francisco politics, it’s been a difficult leadership environment in both of these cities, and both cities have suffered because of that.”

While Related is heavily invested and based in New York, the firm has been building up its investments outside the city in places that are primed for growth, such as Florida and Texas. Relatedrecently signed a lease with Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management for office space in West Palm Beach, Florida, and has been in talks with other New York finance titans interested in that region.

In Manhattan, Related is focused on bringing people back into its office buildings. The company has set up a Covid-19 testing center at Hudson Yards, so people will feel safer about returning, Blau said.

“If people don’t get back to the office,” he said, “New York will not recover.”

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