REBNY Partners With State to Open COVID-19 Testing Centers

Several testing sites opened with help from board members, with more slated to follow.
Governor Andrew Cuomo. Image via the Governor’s official flickr

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced the launch of the New York Forward Rapid Test Program public-private partnership. The program aims to bolsters the safe reboot of businesses, as the state gradually reopens sectors of the economy. The Real Estate Board of New York is also involved in the program.

Following the initial announcement, REBNY recognized members who played a role in the implementation. Three of the first 11 rapid testing locations were donated by members of REBNY: Vornado Realty Trust provided space at 6 W. 52nd St., Boston Properties at 599 Lexington Ave., while Rockpoint Group and Cushman & Wakefield contributed with space at 1700 Broadway. As new testing centers open, other members of the Board are set to donate space at their properties.

In the coming weeks, additional facilities are slated to become available throughout the city and the state. Gov. Cuomo’s release comes on the heels of two new COVID-19 vaccination sites opening Wednesday in Brooklyn and Queens, with each location slated to administer up to 3,000 doses per day.

A trying year

Last March, Gov. Cuomo halted all non-essential construction in the state, as confirmed coronavirus cases climbed. The temporary freeze allowed contractors to make necessary changes on their construction sites, in order to boost worker health and safety.

It’s been nearly a year since, and the long-term effects of the pandemic on the metro’s commercial real estate sector are starting to take shape. According to a recent REBNY report, which offers glimpses into the magnitude of the city’s pandemic-induced real estate transformation, the number of deals declined 21 percent year-over-year in 2020, while transaction volume recorded a 41 percent dive. Meanwhile, construction activity hit an eight-year low and Manhattan’s office market wrapped up its slowest fourth quarter since at least 2006.