Bill de Blasio has given New York’s real estate sector an early Christmas present. “The choice of William Bratton brought a huge sigh of relief from the real estate community,” said Mitchell Rudin, president and CEO of Brookfield Office Properties’ U.S. commercial operations, at Eisner Amper’s Real Estate Breakfast Forum.
Last Thursday, Mayor elect de Blasio announced that Bratton will replace Ray Kelly as New York City’s police commissioner. Bratton had previously been commissioner between 1994 and 1996 under Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and is widely hailed for his role in turning the dangerous New York of the early 1990s into the comparatively safe city it is today.
Real estate professionals had been watching de Blasio’s plans for the NYPD with particular concern, as improved street safety has played a big role in opening up areas such as Harlem or Times Square for luxury residential and commercial projects and attracting foreign investment.
Bratton’s successful track record as head of the police departments in Boston, New York and Los Angeles has done much to quell fears that crime could soon be on the rise again.
“In the past 20 years, New York City has become one of the safest big cities in the world, and a huge share of the credit goes to two men – Bill Bratton and Ray Kelly,” said Larry Silverstein, CEO of Silverstein Properties. “We are extremely fortunate that Bill Bratton is returning as New York’s top cop. I’m confident he will continue the great strides New York City has made in public safety over the past two decades.”
Douglas Durst, chairman of The Durst Organization, said Bratton is “an excellent choice to run the NYPD. We look forward to working with him.”
“Bill Bratton was a great choice for NYC Police Commissioner. He will make us proud, and safe,” Tweeted Donald Trump.
And Mary Ann Tighe CEO of the New York Tri-State Region of CB Richard Ellis, said “Bratton’s experience in the job and the serious reduction in crime during his previous tenure bode well for the city’s continued social and business vibrancy.”
The Times Square Alliance, which has benefitted significantly from the reduction in crime in the 1990s, also welcomed Bratton’s appointment. “In appointing Bill Bratton, Mayor-Elect de Blasio has shown that addressing quality-of-life crimes and predatory behaviors in public places like Times Square will be a centerpiece of neighborhood policing,” said the Alliance’s President Tim Tompkins. “We look forward to working with the new Commissioner to address those problems, which unfortunately have been re-emerging in Times Square.”
Some real estate professionals are seeing Bratton’s appointment not just as a sign that de Blasio is serious about fighting crime, but also that he may be becoming more conservative on other issues as well.
“(Bratton) is someone with a track record,” said Bruce Mosler, chairman of Cushman & Wakefield’s global brokerage. “It’s an interesting move, and it may signal a gravitation towards the center.”