Flying High

Do you know what other groups were courting JetBlue?

They went out and they looked at a bunch of new buildings [that would be built specifically for them]. Tishman Speyer and RockRose, I think, was there. Then there was also a lot of existing space, and when the existing space came onto the RFP stage, JetBlue looked at the MetLife space and the love affair ensued from there. MetLife loved JetBlue; JetBlue loved MetLife. The match was made. The space in the building was available. They loved the location.

 

Have you enjoyed the response to the JetBlue deal? People seem very excited.

Absolutely. It was great. When we were there on that Monday at City Hall [for a press conference to announce the deal], it was still a question. I thought it was going to be decided that it was going to be in our building. Everything I had been exposed to in terms of the mechanics of the deal, it seemed like it was going in the right direction. But until that morning, they hadn’t notified the mayor of New York, the governor of New York, the mayor of Orlando, the governor of Florida, which way they were going-and nothing was really committed at that point in time. So until 1 o’clock that Monday, there was still a question as to, ‘Oh my God, is this really going to happen?’

Well, it happened. It was very exciting for New York. People are always looking for a great story, and in this you had papers pick it up that were all over the country. You had Seattle and you had Detroit. You had Denver. Clearly you had Florida, which was written in kind of a different tone. But it really was our deal to lose. Not my deal to lose, but New York City’s deal to lose. They were already here. As Mayor Bloomberg and Seth Pinsky always say, you have to focus on keeping the jobs in New York that are already here.

jsederstrom@observer.com