Foreign NYC buyer argues that she is “not the enemy”

February 23, 2014 10:00AM

 Affordable housing advocates, activists fighting gentrification and politicians have all, at one point or another, wagged their fingers at super-rich foreign natives that snatch up luxury condos for staggering sums. But Toronto-native and West 57th Street-condo-buyer, Diane Francis, claims that it is precisely foreign buyers like herself that “are the solution, not the problem, to New York’s budget.” 

Francis has owned a condo in NYC since 2005, but she recently purchased another in a 25-year-old building on West 57th Street, near One57 and other controversial luxury developments. Writing in the New York Post, she explains why foreign buyers choose to buy in NYC.

“To us, New York outshines other capitals such as London or Paris because it’s the world’s biggest shopping mall, complete with 24-hour room service,” Francis writes. “It’s also a theme park for adults who like theater, art, museums, opera, comedy clubs, food, fashion and dynamic streetscapes. We have invested our after-tax Canadian dollars here rather than buying a place in Florida to golf and mall walk.”

Francis rejects Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Tale of Two Cities” narrative, arguing that New York City needs more “walking wallets.” Foreign part-time NYC residents encourage development and create jobs without burdening infrastructure. And with 63 percent of foreign buyers paying cash, they can even be a boon to “an over-leveraged real estate market.”

“We are an economic fantasy come true,” she writes. “We support cheesy souvenir shops, park vendors peddling iconic photos of Depression workers on a girder and reworked musicals on Broadway. We bring in relatives and friends who love riding the horse drawn carts through Central Park. We buy the T-shirts and the labels at Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman.” [NYP]Christopher Cameron