Mayor Bloomberg Planning for Life After City Hall — in London

Friday, 08 Feb 2013 09:29 AM

By Lisa Barron

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Could there be yet another mayoral candidacy in the works for three-time New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg?

This time, it could be London that the man who defied term limits to win his third term has his eyes on.

The Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent who is one of the richest men in America already is building his own British empire, reports The New York Times.

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By 2016, Bloomberg Place in the English capital’s financial district will be the European center for his company and charity, the Times reports, and will include a pair of bronze and stone office towers, connected by sky-bridges atop the ruins of a 2,000 year-old Roman temple.

It also will feature pedestrian plazas, spaces for nearly 400 bicycles and, possibly, branches of New York restaurants.

Bloomberg already has close ties to the current mayor of London, Boris Johnson, reportedly wining and dining him in the Big Apple and offering guidance on city management.

“It is very helpful for me politically in London to have such a great example of a municipal authority in New York,” Johnson told The Times.

Bloomberg, an unabashed Anglophile, has also dabbled in that country’s national politics, contributing nearly $1.15 million to English candidates and political parties, according to the paper, and speaking at gatherings of the Conservative Party, whose center-right views he supports.

A Democrat before seeking elective office, Bloomberg switched parties in 2001 and ran for mayor as a Republican, winning the election that year as well as a second term in 2005. After disagreements with the national leadership, he left the GOP in 2007; in 2008 he campaigned to change New York City’s term limits law and in 2009 ran for a third term as an independent candidate on the Republican ballot line.

The mayor, who is said to have a net worth of $25 billion, hired a public relations firm to make introductions in London society, has held parties at his two-story apartment on exclusive Cadogan Square, bought a box at the Ascot raceground and contributed extensively to British museums and theaters.

“There is no question, he’s among the most important supporters of contemporary culture in this country,” Julia Peyton-Jones, the director of the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens, told The Times.

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Some of his planned expenditures, however, have not been so popular. Two attempts to install noisy air conditioners at his London home have failed, with local officials reportedly calling the plans “totally unacceptable.”

As for Bloomberg running in London, Johnson jokingly told The Times, “We could do a swap. When’s he standing down?”

Bloomberg’s mayoralty will end on Jan. 1, 2014.

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