WeWork spent $150,000 on lobbyists with ties to City Hall between April 2015 and February 2016 as it sought approval of its co-living project WeLive at 110 Wall Street. Lobbyist Scott Levenson of the Advance Group told the New York Post that he received $100,000 from WeWork to lobby the de Blasio administration over 110 Wall Street. The city issued residential conversion permits for the building in July.
Last week, The Real Deal broke the news that WeWork’s senior vice president for external affairs, Arana Hankin, is the single biggest donation bundler to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s re-election campaign.
Between Jan. 8 and 11, Hankin bundled $68,750 in donations to the mayor’s re-election campaign – by a fair margin the largest chunk of donations recorded in the current campaign cycle so far.
The individual donations came from WeWork co-founders Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey and their spouses, who each gave the maximum amount of $4,950, campaign finance filings show. Other WeWork staffers and employees at firms that do business with WeWork – such as UA Builders and Bestmark Woodworking, and architect Navi Maqami – also chipped in.
When the mayor unveiled his OneNYC plan in April 2015, he spoke about initiatives to manage density such as “live-work apartments, live-work buildings, or live-work districts.” All are initiatives that WeWork is actively taking on, including co-living space at Rudin’s 110 Wall Street. Investor documents leaked in August reveal that WeWork expects its residential offerings — dubbed “WeLive” at the time — to eventually bring in 20 percent of total revenue.
At the Navy Yard, the company is developing the office building Dock 72 on city-owned land in partnership with Rudin Management and Boston Properties. Rudin Management CEO Bill Rudin bundled $25,150 in donations to de Blasio’s campaign on the same days as WeWork. The developer is long known as a major patron of New York politicians. [NY Post] — Konrad Putzier