It will take 10 years to “dig out” of the current situation in New York City following extended business closures aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus and the “sense of lawlessness that’s affecting the city,” Peebles Corporation CEO Don Peebles told “Mornings with Maria” on Monday.
The real estate entrepreneur added that he thinks that “when New York comes back 10 years from now, it’s going to come back very differently than what we know it to be.”
“It will be a very different city with far less traffic and retail and commerce I believe,” Peebles said.
The former Obama National Finance Committee member noted that New York City has experienced “catastrophic events, terrorist attacks, and an economic cycle or a political cycle,” but has never seen “the structural change that’s taking place now.”
Peebles added that New York City is not the same city it was before the pandemic “because people feel unsafe, it’s dirty [and] they’ve extracted life away from it by all these closures as well.”
The number of September shooting incidents in the city increased 127% year-over-year from 67 shootings in 2019 to 152 shootings in 2020; September murders spiked 40 percent from 246 people killed in 2019 to 344 people killed in 2020, according to New York City Police Department data released earlier this month.
New York has faced a summer of hardship after the coronavirus pandemic took a toll on the city's working, youth and elderly populations, as well as a combination of peaceful and violent protests amid civil unrest throughout the country following the officer-involved death of George Floyd.
She also noted the high cost of living and said “a lot needs to change in terms of arresting criminals, prosecuting them and also cleaning up the city.”
Peebles said he agrees with McDowell, saying that “laws are here to enforce.”
He also pointed to the fact that in July New York City lawmakers voted on budget changes that shifted $1 billion from the NYPD to programs that assist in youth and community development.
“I think this reduction of a billion dollars to the police department in New York City, the leadership at the top saying, ‘Don’t arrest people’ and a sense of lawlessness that’s affecting the city as a whole is having a major disruption on retail business because even fewer people want to venture into New York City,” Peebles said.
Speaking on “Mornings with Maria” last month, Peebles told host Maria Bartiromo that brick-and-mortar retail within the nation's largest city was essentially dead following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although there will be "some" survivors in New York City, Peebles told Bartiromo in September that more than half won't make a comeback.
"Retail as we know it today or as we have known it in the past is gone," Peebles said.
On Monday, he explained that he thinks brick-and-mortar retail is “dead as we know it, or as we remember it because it is structurally unsound.”
He went on to say that “trends in retail was already experiencing significant stress and closures prior to COVID because of the disruption of technology with Amazon and all of the online transactions.”
Peebles explained that the coronavirus pandemic has essentially removed all store traffic and that “consumers have changed their buying patterns” permanently as a result. He added that “having only 10% of the workforce back in their offices has taken so much traffic away.”
“They are not going to go and walk into these stores to buy items, they’re going to go online as most of us do, as most of your audience has done and as much as I do as well,” Peebles said.
FOX Business’ Daniella Genovese and Fox News’ Audrey Conklin and Caitlin McFall contributed to this report.