New York Landlords Press Goldman, BlackRock to Speed Up Return-to-Work and Save City

The skyscrapers are mostly empty, the tourists are home and talk of New York’s decay is back. For the city’s real-estate barons, it’s time to put an end to it.

A loose coalition of New York’s top property owners and managers is busily working the phones, pressing many of the city’s biggest employers -- including powerhouses like Goldman Sachs, Blackstone and BlackRock -- to speed up the return of workers. Their argument: It’s safe, and the eateries and shops that make Manhattan special can’t hold out much longer. Some are calling it the patriotic thing to do.

“I’ve been really pushing the CEOs to bring people back into the office,” said Jeff Blau, the head of Related Cos., the developer behind the Hudson Yards project. “I’ve been using a little bit of guilt trip and a little bit of coaxing.”

The reaction for now has been lukewarm.

Behind the desperation lies fear of a vicious spiral. The longer commuters stay home, the more local businesses will disappear, and the less reason there is for anyone to return. Executives and firms who’ve made a fortune developing and owning the city’s towers are facing the prospect of a significant slump in demand and prices for offices and residential units. But the ramifications extend to all New Yorkers, Blau said.

“I am watching the city decay as nobody is here,” he said. “Now is not the time to abandon the city and expect it to be in the same way you wanted it when you get back in a year from now.”

Blau and his peers have been taking turns getting on the horn with chief executives and their lieutenants in charge of overseeing vast tracts of offices. The group includes RXR Realty’s Scott Rechler, Rudin Management’s William Rudin and Marc Holliday of SL Green Realty, New York’s biggest office landlord.