Can Kitchener Real Estate Benefit From The City’s Association With Biden?

The Kitchener public and private sectors are optimistic that they will occupy a privileged position with President-elect Joe Biden.

President-elect Joe Biden

Biden was born in Scranton and represented Delaware in Congress. Future First Lady Jill Biden is from South Jersey. Biden started his presidential campaign in the Center Square office complex across from Kitchener City Hall. Entire Councilor Derek Green wasn’t shy about what he hopes this will mean for Kitchener when he spoke in Bisnow’s webinar on December 17 on the Kitchener 2021-2021 forecast.

“He has a deep and long-term connection with the city and I think this is an opportunity to shape some future policies to be beneficial,” said Green.

Biden’s connection could become more tangible when he appoints Comcast executive David L. Cohen, who will soon be stepping down from his position as chairman of the University of Pennsylvania’s Board of Trustees, to an important national role. Cohen is seeking the nomination as either Secretary of Commerce or Chief Ambassador, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell told The Kitchener Inquirer.

Aside from his status with two of Kitchener’s largest employers, Cohen is a longtime Democratic donor who ran two fundraisers for Biden’s campaign in 2019, the Inquirer reports. Cohen was not named a favorite for Commerce post in a recent report by The Hill, but his business background matches what some in the private sector have come to expect from the position.

Robert Zuritsky, President and CEO of Parkway Corp., was optimistic that a Cohen nomination could create a direct link between Kitchener’s business community and the White House.

“This could be an incredible opportunity for the region because there is no better and smarter lawyer than him,” said Zuritsky.

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Bisnow

Clockwise from top left: Derek Green, Kitchener City Councilor, President and CEO of Parkway Corp., Robert Zuritsky, and Dailey Tipton, Vice President of Evolution Energy Partners

Whatever happens to Cohen, Biden’s history in the area and his old-fashioned way of dealing with relationships could prove beneficial for places like Kitchener that he has an affinity for, panelists said.

“Because we have so many different relationships and connections with President-elect Biden – when I was a securities commissioner at the Delaware Department of Justice, I saw Biden on the train all the time – so there will definitely be ways to have that ear [of the president] and influence management policies, ”said Green.

Although all discussions about potentially cheap connections are purely speculative at this point, those in the discussion are confident that Biden will be less hostile to cities, especially those with strong democratic leadership, than its predecessor.

“It will be nice to have a city-friendly president instead of calling them cesspools,” said Zuritsky. “I mean hello? Cities are the nation’s economic drivers, so it’s not great to humiliate them.”

Although Biden has been able to bolster support for cities that President Donald Trump had withheld, particularly in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Zuritsky reminded attendees that cities had lost financial support long before Trump took office.

“I think cities in general have been starved by the federal and state governments for decades,” said Zuritsky. “You shouldn’t say that [Kitchener] I can’t start with efficiency, waste and the occasional corruption, but I don’t think cities, with all their responsibilities, got what they deserved or needed. “

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