Eric Adams to tech leaders: Please stay in NYC

Appeal comes amid concerns over crime, rising rents

Mayor of New York City Eric Adams (Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty Images)
Mayor of New York City Eric Adams (Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty Images)

Mayor Eric Adams is taking concerns from tech executives over the city’s crime and high rents head on, encouraging them to keep their business in the Big Apple.

Over dinner at Daniel Boulod’s Le Pavilion in Midtown East last week, Adams told tech leaders and investors that the city “needs and wants technology companies,” and that officials are eager for tech companies to “help grow the economy,” people familiar with the discussions told CNBC.

The dinner was hosted by angel investor Ron Conway and Josh Mendelsohn, managing partner of tech investment firm Hangar.

Adams’ spokesman Fabien Levy confirmed to the outlet the mayor made remarks at the event, detailing only that “he spoke about the importance of tech to NYC and government innovation.”

Attendees included Greycroft co-founder Alan Patricof, former Obama advisor and Lyft board member Valerie Jarrett and Warby Parker CEOs Dave Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal, an investor in the brokerage startup Avenue 8, according to a list reported by CNBC.

The mayor’s remarks were aimed at tamping down concerns over crime rates and rising rents, which business leaders have highlighted in recent years as key factors in the recovery of cities’ commercial real estate sectors.

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New York’s median rent in July hit $4,150, a nearly 30 percent jump from July of last year, according to data from appraisal firm Miller Samuel for Douglas Elliman. That same month, Manhattan’s rental market marked six straight months of record median rent.

Though analysis shows the city’s crime rates are historically low, an uptick in widely covered violent incidents in the wake of the pandemic and Adams’ crime-centric political brand sparked a fresh wave of concern.

The mayor has previously lent his remarks to encouraging New York City’s in-person business return. In comments at a July tech event reported by the New York Post, he said the city should look to define the question of “what does the work week look like” amid remote and hybrid work arrangements.

“We may not have central business districts anymore,” Adams said, referencing the areas comprising business and retail bubbles that have suffered as offices remain mostly empty. “I don’t know that, but we can’t stumble into this.”

Adams’ reported effort to appeal to the tech community comes after the city notched at least one big believer in the form of Google CEO Sundar Pinchai.

“I’m personally long-term bullish on our growth in New York as a company,” Pichai told Crain’s earlier this month. “And we would do that only if we’re optimistic to access to tech talent and being able to scale up.”

— Ellen Cranley