City to Midtown: Drop dead.
This is the message sent by installing a migrants’ theme park in the Roosevelt Hotel, two blocks from Grand Central Terminal and steps from some of the city’s most important corporate headquarters.
The unfathomable stroke of stupidity to fill the vacant hotel with “asylum seekers” threatens to abort East Midtown’s still-fragile recovery from the pandemic. A pop-up barnyard would be less inappropriate for the neighborhood.
That Mayor Eric Adams is desperate to house migrants doesn’t get him off the hook.
It puts the Big Apple’s economy at risk, as well as its appeal to tourists and shoppers.
The Roosevelt area hasn’t rebounded as well as other office districts. A migrant takeover will see to it that it never does.
More office space stands empty in the district than in any other Manhattan submarket, according to Colliers’ first-quarter survey — 19% compared with 15.6% in Midtown overall.
Now hundreds or thousands of unemployed and perhaps unemployable illegal migrants will enjoy cozy digs amidst great corporations and skyscrapers that contribute critical tax revenue to the municipal treasury.
The hotel stands within yards of the rising new JPMorgan Chase tower and many buildings where firms have struggled to bring employees back to their desks.
What better excuse will workers have for staying home than a huge migrant shelter with its unpredictable consequences?
What sounder reasons will companies have for not leasing space nearby?
Why shouldn’t landlords reconsider investing billions of dollars to modernize obsolete structures around the corner?
Does anyone believe that a migrant camp will help fill Madison Avenue’s many vacant storefronts such as the former Brooks Brothers flagship?
Long Island Rail Road commuters who come to Manhattan through Grand Central are in for a shock. The state spent billions of dollars to give them an alternative to squalid Penn Station — now passengers might wonder if they never left it.
Maybe Roosevelt’s migrants will be model noncitizens eager to clean sidewalks and give directions to tourists.
But don’t bet on it. Migrants have already brought havoc to streets near the Row and Stewart hotels, where fewer were put up that will be at the Roosevelt.
The uncertainty is just too much for a part of Manhattan that needs all the love City Hall can show it.
Normally outspoken business-advocacy organizations turned into cowardly lions on the Roosevelt.
The Partnership for New York City declined to comment.
Real Estate Board of New York President James Whelan gave us a subject-avoiding statement: “The migrant crisis is a challenging issue for our city and we commend the mayor for taking it on.”
An air of resignation hung over stores around the hotel. Tight-lipped managers at Paul Stuart and Men’s Wearhouse referred us to “corporate,” a sign that the PC police are on the case to deflect “NIMBY” accusations.
Thankfully, one prime mover was willing to speak on the record — CBRE tristate CEO Mary Ann Tighe, who’s negotiated 115 million square feet of deals.
She told The Post: “What public official thought placing migrant intake across from Grand Central would do no harm to the commuter experience?
“The Roosevelt sits amidst buildings critical to the city’s revenue. A rough estimate is that five buildings within a one-block radius of it generate over $50 million a year each in real-estate taxes. The Met Life Building alone pumps a staggering $65 million in real-estate taxes into city coffers.
“Is creating a migrant center in their midst going to secure this income stream by enhancing leasing?” she asked facetiously.
Mayor Adams rightly blames the Biden administration for the migrant invasion.
But if a 1,000-room homeless haven has the not unlikely effect of bringing East Midtown to ruin, the blame will lie not in Washington but squarely on himself.
This story originally appeared on NYPost