13 years ago...
New York Stock Exchange Considers a Move, but Not From Manhattan
By ALAN FINDER
August 13, 1996
Trying to accommodate strong growth in recent years, officials at the New York Stock Exchange said yesterday that they were thinking about relocating to expanded headquarters somewhere in Manhattan.
The stock exchange, one of New York City's prime economic engines and the leading symbol of its claim as a world financial capital, has not decided whether to move, or where, said a spokesman, Ray Pellecchia. But one decision has been made: the exchange will not move to New Jersey or elsewhere outside the city, Mr. Pellecchia and city officials said.
Consideration of a new home for the exchange, which was reported yesterday by The New York Post, is prompted by a need for larger and more modern quarters, according to several New York real estate executives. The exchange, founded in 1792, has been at Wall and Broad streets for 93 years and has long been a popular tourist attraction.
Officials at the exchange declined to discuss possible sites, but several real estate executives said the exchange would need a huge trading floor, perhaps as large as 120,000 square feet -- about three times the size of a floor in the Met Life Building next to Grand Central Terminal. That requirement, along with the need for considerable space for computers and auxiliary services, would rule out virtually all existing office buildings in lower Manhattan, the executives said.
An option under consideration is tearing down an old office building at 2 Broadway, near Battery Park, and constructing a new headquarters there, according to the real estate executives. Another possibility would be putting up a vast building at the eastern end of Wall Street, over the East River. The developer Donald J. Trump has proposed that site to the exchange, the real estate executives said.
The city, and not Mr. Trump, controls the waterfront there, just south of the South Street Seaport and two piers with indoor tennis courts.
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who has offered tax incentives to prevent other markets from moving, said yesterday that he met two weeks ago with Richard A. Grasso, the chairman and chief executive of the exchange, to discuss the possibility of a new home.
Mr. Grasso made it clear that the exchange was committed to New York City, Mr. Giuliani said, and would not seek to maximize tax breaks and other incentives from the city and state by pretending that it was considering a move to New Jersey or Connecticut.
The Mayor said Mr. Grasso had told him that the exchange wanted ''a larger, more modern location.''
Since then, city and exchange officials have discussed many possible sites, Mr. Giuliani said, adding that the talks would probably continue for at least three or four months.
''My most important objective is to keep the stock exchange in the city of New York,'' the Mayor said. ''That is one of our anchors that makes us the financial capital of the world.''
''I would prefer to see them in lower Manhattan,'' he said. ''I think they would prefer to stay in lower Manhattan, but then they have to look at other options as well, and we have to give them the flexibility to do that.''
The Giuliani administration, like its recent predecessors, has offered substantial tax abatements and other financial incentives to keep major employers in the city. Last year, the New York Cotton Exchange, which had decided to move to Jersey City, agreed to join the Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange in moving from their current home, in the World Trade Center, to a new building at Murray and Greenwich streets in TriBeCa. The city offered $98 million in incentives to both exchanges to remain in New York.
When asked at a news conference how much aid would be required to help the stock exchange relocate within the city, Mr. Giuliani said it was too soon to know. ''We haven't made a deal yet, and I don't know what it's going to take to have them accomplish the facility that they need,'' he said.
The stock exchange has considered moving before. Three years ago, officials of the exchange considered a proposal to relocate across the street, said Louis Rudin, a developer who was part of the team of developers and consultants that devised the plan. Under the proposal, an office building at 23 Wall Street and a full block of neighboring buildings would have been razed, and a new trading floor and headquarters would have been built for the New York Stock Exchange and the American Stock Exchange.
In the end, senior officials of the exchange decided to remain in their current building, according to Mr. Rudin, whose family real estate company owns a number of nearby office buildings.
''Our primary effort is to keep the stock exchange downtown in New York,'' he said, ''and there is no reason, we think, to believe that they won't be there.''