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Photo of the Helmsley Building lit up blue in honor of essential workers (via RXR Realty) Photo of the Helmsley Building lit up blue in honor of essential workers (via RXR Realty)
Roughly two weeks before Governor Cuomo’s New York on Pause order expires on May 15, coronavirus deaths and hospitalizations are still high, but falling throughout New York. The current number of around 12,000 hospitalized patients is well below the nearly 19,000 hospitalized patients at the beginning of the month.

To combat that and further flatten the curve, the governor, mayor, and other officials have been extremely busy. Mayor De Blasio announced that in May, the city would move 1,000 homeless New Yorkers a week to hotels to alleviate overcrowding in the shelter system. Subways are to be taken out of service to be cleaned and disinfected from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. And by this time next week, there will be 11 new testing sites open throughout the city.

While we wait for the city to reopen and to see what the new normal looks like, we take a look at how New York’s real estate community are responding to the crisis. Building sites throughout the city are starting to reopen, albeit with new safety and social distancing practices in place. Meanwhile, the developers at the helm have actively worked to keep tenants safe and show gratitude to first responders and essential workers.

Notable Buildings and Developments: Rockefeller Center, Rose Hill

11-East-29th-Street-01 Rose Hill rendering via Rockefeller Group and Recent Spaces
Rockefeller Group partnered with local businesses to curate the amenities in Rose Hill, its first residential building, and that mindset extends to this time when amenities are closed and traditional broker events are on hold. Funds for a broker event were repurposed to give back to the community by having Bourke Street Bakery, located one block from Rose Hill, bake and deliver care packages to healthcare workers at the nearby Bellevue Hospital. This is part of its ongoing effort to help local businesses and first responders.

Notable Buildings and Developments: Hudson Yards, Lantern House, 520 West 28th Street, and 70 Vestry Street

Lantern House Lantern House with Hudson Yards in the distance, Related Companies
Related's 70 Vestry Street with 465 Washington Street in the distance
When Governor Cuomo ordered all hospitals to double capacity, at least one didn't have to do it alone. According to the New York Post, Mt. Sinai Beth Israel reached out to Jeff Blau, Related CEO and hospital board member, to help increase the number of beds at its site at 261 First Avenue. Not even two days later, company contractors and construction executives from Hudson Yards were onsite to open hundreds of hospital rooms in a matter of days. All the while this was going on, Related Companies has operated a World Central Kitchen outpost at 55 Hudson Yards to provide meals for healthcare workers, soldiers, first responders, and support staff.

Notable Buildings and Developments: One Vanderbilt, One Madison Avenue, 1515 Broadway

One Vanderbilt Avenue One Vanderbilt (via Loopnet/CBRE office leasing/SL Green)
SL Green is one of New York’s largest office landlords, and it has reached out to its food service tenants to establish the Food1st Foundation. Acclaimed chef Daniel Boulud was set to open a new restaurant in One Vanderbilt later this year, and now his downtown prep kitchen is the home base for the preparation of meals for first responders and food-insecure New Yorkers. Not only does this provide meals, but it also reactivates and revitalizes shuttered restaurants with heightened safety protocols in place.

Notable Buildings and Developments: The Helmsley Building, Starrett-Lehigh Building, Pier 57, 475 Clermont Avenue

Helmsley-Building-01 475 Clermont Avenue via RXR Realty
When New York’s most iconic landmarks were lit up in blue as a gesture of gratitude to first responders and healthcare workers, RXR Realty’s Helmsley Building was among them. And whether the lights are on or off, the developer runs RXR Volunteer, a way for professionals of all stripes to share their skills with businesses and organizations that need help during this time.

Notable Buildings and Developments: Tangram, Flushing Commons, One Fulton Square, Queens Crossing

Flushing Commons Flushing Commons: Photo Credit: Copyright Andrew Rugge, Courtesy Perkins Eastman
F&T Group has partnered up with Asians in America (AIA), a charitable organization founded by Democratic Assembly candidate Steven Lee, to purchase and deliver over 1,200 meals from both Flushing’s most popular restaurants and food tenants in its mixed-use properties. Their efforts have allowed workers at the 109th Precinct, Flushing Hospital Medical Center, New York Presbyterian Queens, and local fire departments to enjoy meals from TKK Fried Chicken , Spot Dessert Bar, Hope to See You , Szechuan Mountain House, PappaRich Flushing, Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao, and Guan Fu Sichuan.

Notable Buildings and Developments: Front & York, One Hundred Barclay Tribeca, 5 Hanover Square

Barclay Vessey Building CIM Group/Magnum
Construction on DUMBO development Front & York has paused, but the developers have not sat idle. On the contrary, CIM Group, along with New Line Structures, has donated 350 N95 masks from the development site to Mount Sinai West to assist in the relief effort by providing healthcare workers with personal protective equipment.

Notable Buildings and Developments: Gateway, LeFrak City, Newport

345-395-South-End-Avenue-01 Gateway via Gateway Residential Management
The staff is a major component of life at amenity-rich Battery Park City community Gateway, and residents recognize that. They have created a GoFundMe page to thank the doormen, porters, security personnel, and maintenance workers who continue to work during this time, and have already raised over $15,000. Gateway Residential Management, which includes LeFrak Organization, got wind of it and pledged to match donations dollar for dollar, up to $50,000.

Park Imperial Midtown West View west from the Park Imperial via Elliman
Days before Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued a 90-day moratorium on evictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, REBNY and building owners representing more than 155,000 units throughout New York made that choice of their own volition. This decision allows a larger number of New Yorkers to stay home safely and flatten the curve with one less worry. As an open letter said, "We can't shake hands or hug each other right now. But we must all turn toward each other and help each other."

Notable Buildings and Developments: CitizenM Bowery, CitizenM Times Square

Bowery-hotel-01 Bowery hotel via CitizenM
Tablets and technology have always been at the center of CitizenM's strategy to stand out in a competitive hospitality market - MoodPads (specially programmed iPads) allow guests to control their room's lighting, temperature, entertainment, and curtains. However, the brand has restored 1,000 iPads to factory settings and distributed them to hospitals and healthcare workers in New York, London, Paris, and Rotterdam. Not only does this allow them to easily access crucial patient information, but it also gives them a means of communicating with friends and family in this troubled time.

100-East-50th-Street-01 Park Avenue entrance via Douglas Elliman
What do Waldorf salads, Rob Roys, and red velvet cake have in common? Not only were they all created at New York institution The Waldorf Astoria, but they also stand at the center of the hotel-condominium's current #WhoAreYouCookingFor campaign: The development's Instagram page shows the classic dishes, then invites followers to post photos of their own meals, tag the friends and family they'd like to share it with, and donate the cost of the meal to God's Love We Deliver, another New York institution that delivers nearly two million meals to New Yorkers in need per year. The Waldorf Astoria has pledged $25,000 towards matching donations.

Notable Buildings and Developments: The Rowan, Astoria Lights

21-21-31st-Street-01 The Rowan via Redundant Pixel
REBNY's Member in Need Fund was established to provide grants to residential agents facing difficulties from illness or hardship, and takes on extra significance in times like these. From May 1 to July 31, developer RockFarmer Properties will donate $1,000 for each contract signed at The Rowan, a ground-up condominium in Astoria, to the Member in Need Fund.

Notable Buildings and Developments: 7 Seventy House

770-Jackson-Street-01 Rendering of 7 Seventy House via Bijou Properties
Hoboken was the first city in New Jersey to implement a shelter-in-place policy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the team behind one of its newest rentals has started a "Win-Win" fund-raising program: Bijou Properties and partner Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation will donate $7.70 to Front Line Appreciation Group (FLAG) of HBKN and JC or Feeding America on behalf of every broker and prospective renter who takes a virtual tour of 7 Seventy House with a live leasing agent. There is no requirement to sign a lease to make a donation, and the program will run until May 31, 2020.

Brooklyn-Heights-10 Image via Brooklyn Heights Association
For many who live in Brooklyn Heights, part of the area's charm is the popular restaurants and shops that continue to stand out even as national chains encroach. In recognition of this, the Brooklyn Heights Association has initiated Brooklyn Heights Together, a dedicated fund to provide a one-time emergency cash grant to hourly workers in the neighborhood who have lost or been furloughed from their jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

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