According to William Rudin, who runs his family’s multi-billion dollar real estate empire, New York City could turn empty retail space into coronavirus test locations.
In an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday, the CEO of Rudin Management Company said that increased transparency could help people feel more comfortable going out and speed up the city’s economy. Rudin said the New York Real Estate Board was working with the office of Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo on the program.
The retail real estate market in New York, like much of the United States, has suffered from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic as public health restrictions designed to slow the spread of Covid-19 weighed on the economy. Business closings have increased as operators battled for rent.
The goal is to turn vacant retail space, “which I believe the city has some of it,” into quick test locations, said Rudin, whose New York City real estate portfolio includes 18 residential buildings and 16 commercial office buildings. “”[A] Person could show the restaurant owner … “I was tested 15 minutes ago and I’m good to go.” This is important for venues, “he added.
Rudin’s comments come as vaccines to protect against Covid-19 roll out across the country.
In New York in particular, Cuomo announced on Tuesday that the state would open vaccinations for anyone aged 65 and over and for younger people with weakened immune systems. Cuomo also outlined plans for a larger network of rapid Covid tests across New York during his speech on the state earlier this week.
The use of vaccines is a hopeful sign for the economy, Rudin said, and gives companies more insight into when employees can return to the office. At Rudin Management Company, employees are already tested every two weeks, he said.
Taken together, Rudin said that vaccine developments and better testing could speed New York City’s recovery. “I think hopefully you will return sooner than expected,” he said. There is a pent-up demand for people who want to go back to work and for people with their colleagues who work together. “
Vacant retail space in nearby New Jersey is also being repurposed to support the public health response. Democratic Governor Phil Murphy told CNBC in a separate interview on Wednesday that a former Sears store in Morris County, about 30 miles outside of New York City, is being used as a major vaccination site. Murphy said he was confident that vaccine use would accelerate after a slow start.
“We’re in a ‘if you build it, they’ll be in mode’ and it feels like the supply is finally running out and we’re going to get more cans,” Murphy later said. Squawk box. “
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