The Real Deal New York

Obama campaign office to open on UWS

Space will house phone banks, where supporters will call swing state voters

September 20, 2012 12:00PM
By Katherine Clarke

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Obama and the Columbus Avenue space

An Upper West Side Democratic club has inked a deal for office space in which President Barack Obama’s supporters will work toward his reelection.

Community Free Democrats, whose members include Rep. Jerry Nadler, Borough President Scott Stringer and State Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, has taken over a 1,200-square-foot, ground-floor retail space at 410 Columbus Avenue, near West 80th Street.

“Out of this store we’ll be phone banking the swing states around the country,” said Jason Haber, CEO of Rubicon Property and an Obama supporter, who brokered the deal for the space. “You can come in on the weekend or during the night and you can make phone calls to Ohio, to New Hampshire, to Florida, to Virginia.”

The new space, Obama’s only campaign office in Manhattan, will host its grand opening this Sunday. Nadler, Stringer and Rosenthal are scheduled to attend. In the last few days, as CFD has been preparing the space, there’s already been substantial interest from Upper West Siders in volunteering.

“Even just having the doors open, the lights on and Obama in the window, people are stopping by in the dozens to sign up and volunteer,” said CFD President Timothy Foley. “They’re very grateful there’s some way they can get politically involved within a short distance from where they live.”

As we reported earlier this week, Obama’s campaign has raised more money than Romney’s campaign from New York City’s real estate industry professionals.

Manhattan’s Upper West Side residents have traditionally comprised a solidly Democratic voting bloc, although, as recently reported, one neighborhood co-op is thwarting the stereotype. Residents of the San Remo building at 145 and 146 Central Park West, between West 74th and West 75th streets, donated almost four times as much to Mitt Romney’s campaign and to a pro-Romney super PAC than to Obama’s reelection efforts.

Haber said it was difficult to find an attractive retail space on the Upper West Side for such a short-term lease. “We had people just running up and down the avenues on the Upper West Side looking for storefront space,” he said. “There’s very little vacancy on the Upper West Side and most landlords would rather wait for a long-term tenant. It was a big headwind that we were facing.”

The landlord for the space, Orleans Realty, was not immediately available for comment. Haber and Foley declined to comment on how much CFD is paying for the space, which was previously occupied by a Supercuts hair salon.

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