Two PR veterinarians with deep ties to the real estate industry are trying to change that New York is dead – and use their industrial contacts to help strengthen the case.
This week, Risa Heller and Jonathan Rosen launched the NY Forever non-profit social media campaign with videos of prominent New Yorkers – including comedians Jerry Seinfeld and Ilana Glazer, creative ambassador Barney Simon Doonan and restorer Wilson Tang of the Nom Wah tea – the city’s oath of allegiance.
It continued on Thursday with prominent city buildings such as One World Trade Center and One Bryant Park, which illuminated their facades in the signature colors of the campaign.
The choice of buildings was not random: The corporate partners of the campaign include many real estate developers and companies, including Durst, which operates the two properties, as well as RXR Realty, TF Cornerstone, Silverstein Properties, the Real Estate Board of New York and others.
The campaign is the responsibility of industrial veterinarians Rosen, former advisor to Mayor Bill de Blasia and co-founder of PR for BerlinRosen, and Heller, who runs PR and crisis management company Risa Heller Communications.
This was due to frustration with the many trending pieces about people leaving New York during the pandemic – and City Hall’s apparent lack of interest in a broader plan to boost confidence in the city.
“We were incredibly frustrated by the story of people fleeing and New York dying,” Heller said. “We started saying, ‘Someone has to stand up for the city.’ Who will do it? “And then we said, ‘Maybe it should be just us. ”
They worked together on their extensive contacts to gain support from the media, finance and technology (including Salesforce, Goldman Sachs and WNYC) along with some of the leading real estate companies. The two PR companies represented many developers and industry players who signed up as corporate partners, including Brookfield, L&M Development Partners and Two Trees Management.
Developers have good reason to lure people back to New York. Real estate companies have signed up to help NY Forever own or manage millions of square feet of residential and commercial space across the city.
These sectors have been hit hard by the pandemic: the Office free places are awake and despite landlords’ requests to return employees to their buildings, availability the rate remains stubbornly low. The residential market shows signs of recovery, but is progressing slowly; The vacancy rate in Manhattan has reached unprecedented highs this year and remains above 5 percent (previously the norm was 2 to 3 percent).
Population decline can also destroy many businesses in the EU retail and hospitality sectors that have been affected by the disappearance of tourism are shifting safety regulations, exclusions and occupancy restrictions.
“The real estate industry is a business, it has its roots in New York, it doesn’t go anywhere and it leaves.” It is a sector with deep investments in the future of the city, “said Rosen. “And many families who own property here have been involved in many ups and downs in the city, so when we turned to the industry leader, they immediately got it and said, ‘How can we help?’ “”
“People want to stand up for New York and they were glad they were asked,” he added.
Part of this assistance comes in the form of financial support; Real estate partners help subscribe to campaign operations. In addition to funding, these developers will also place advertisements on their buildings and digital kiosks in malls and shopping malls.
Heller and Rosen insist that the non-profit organization has no political motivation; Rosen called it “persistently apolitical,” and Heller considered it an “independent civic effort.”
Their immediate goal is to register New Yorkers on the mailing list and provide information on volunteer opportunities and other ways to return them, with the support of partners such as the New York Cares and the Citizens Committee for New York City.
Heller said it was ultimately about promoting “a real sense of ownership and pride in being a New Yorker.”