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NY Times...

Despite Its Jersey City Tower, Goldman Sachs Commits to One in Lower Manhattan


April 17, 2004

Goldman Sachs is forging ahead with plans to build a billion-dollar, 40-story world headquarters at Battery Park City just as it completes construction of New Jersey's tallest building a mile away in Jersey City.

The tower represents a major commitment to Lower Manhattan by one of the financial district's largest employers at a time when the downtown area is undergoing a huge rebuilding process. But Goldman has rejected repeated suggestions from state and city officials that it consolidate its operations in the so-called Freedom Tower, the first building planned for the World Trade Center site.

Instead, the bank picked a spot northwest of ground zero, on West Street, between Vesey and Murray Streets. It is the last vacant commercial parcel at Battery Park City, and Goldman's skyscraper would be the fifth and last tower at the World Financial Center.

One of the most profitable investment banks on Wall Street, Goldman has also sought more than $1 billion in tax-free financing called Liberty Bonds and $30 million in cash grants, as well as low-cost electric power and tax breaks. The investment bank plans to consolidate the trading and sales operations now spread between 85 Broad Street, its current headquarters, and 1 New York Plaza. The leases in those two buildings expire in 2008 and 2009; Goldman wants a new home by 2008, the bank has told state and city officials.

"I'm hopeful that we'll come to an agreement to retain Goldman in Lower Manattan," said Charles A. Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation. "It's important for the continuing strength of the financial community and it'll send a strong message that downtown is the place to be."

Mr. Gargano declined to comment on negotiations with the bank.

But two executives familiar with the talks said that the state had resisted what they said were Goldman's oversize demands and continued to urge the bank to move to the trade center. They said that Henry M. Paulson, Goldman's chairman, had called Mr. Gargano several times complaining about the sluggish pace of the bargaining. The pace picked up two weeks ago, and yesterday, state and city officials delivered a proposal to the bank that included about $1 billion in Liberty Bonds, one of the executives said.

The Battery Park City Authority is expected to approve the project's environmental impact statement on Wednesday and the project is expected to begin the city's land use review process on April 26.

The bank has also been negotiating with Brookfield Financial Properties, which owns the World Financial Center and has certain rights connected to the parcel sought by Goldman, known as Site 26. Brookfield had wanted to develop the site, a suggestion rebuffed by the bank. The two sides have been trying to work out an accommodation, which, according to one person who had been briefed on the discussions, would involve some sort of payments to Brookfield.

Designed by Pei, Cobb, Freed & Partners, Goldman's proposed tower would mark a break with the four bulky, boxy office buildings at World Financial Center, which were built in the 1980's. The proposed building, which the company has said would meet or exceed the special environmental or green standards at Battery Park City, is a rectangular tower with a slender face to the north and the south, while the west wall offers a broad curving, or pie-shaped, facade to the Hudson River.

The building site is nearly two acres and sits just north of the American Express Tower and adjacent to a hotel and movie theater. The size of the site allows Goldman to stack six large trading floors at the base of the building, as well as floors with a gym, cafeteria and conference rooms, topped by a tower.

Goldman, which has about 10,000 employees in Manhattan, has moved with remarkable speed since December, when Mr. Paulson called Governor George E. Pataki and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to say that the bank wanted to build its own tower at the World Financial Center. The two embraced the project, although state and some city officials had been upset with Goldman ever since 1999, when it bought land near the Jersey City waterfront for a new set of buildings.

"They moved jobs out of New York," said one real estate executive. adding that "Nobody's ecstatic" about having to bend over backward to help Goldman, "but what could they do?"

Plans to transfer traders to the 40-story, $1.3 billion tower in Jersey City had to be scuttled after the proposal touched off an insurrection inside the bank. Two weeks ago, Goldman began moving the first of what it expects will be 2,500 employees into the building. It can accommodate more than 6,000 people.

"As one of the largest and most prestigious businesses in the city," said Carl Weisbrod, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York, "Goldman Sachs's decision to build and own property immediately adjacent to the trade center site will be an invitation to other firms to move to the site itself."

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NY Post...



April 17, 2004 -- Goldman Sachs is pushing ahead with plans for a 2-million-square-foot downtown office tower that would have a rounded glass fa

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(NY Post)



August 20, 2004

Goldman Sachs will build a $1.8 billion, 40-story headquarters tower in Battery Park City with the help of $1 billion in tax-exempt Liberty Bond financing, the Wall Street firm and Gov. Pataki announced yesterday.

Construction of the 1.9 million square foot skyscraper, to be completed in 2009, is to "coincide" with the rise of the Freedom Tower a short stroll away at Ground Zero.

Goldman Sachs will house about 7,400 employees, including its investment banking and trading operations, in the new tower. The building is being designed by architect Harry Cobb of Pei Cobb Freed.

The news did not come as a surprise but nonetheless has enormous implications for downtown.

Downtown Alliance President Carl Weisbrod said, "For one of the most prestigious and important companies in the world to be making a literally permanent commitment to Lower Manhattan is a strong signal in the marketplace that revitalization is well under way."

Goldman Sachs has long kept real estate brokers guessing as to its ultimate intentions downtown, where it now occupies millions of square feet at several different addresses.

Some brokers grumble that Goldman's new tower, although a vote of confidence in downtown, will add to the vacancy rate by pulling staffers out of the firm's existing locations.

A few years ago, Goldman built an enormous tower in Jersey City that has remained mostly empty since the firm's traders mutinied over a plan to move them there from Manhattan after 9/11.

Empire State Development Corp. Chairman Charles Gargano, who is also chairman of the state Liberty Development Corp. board, told The Post, "by and large," the new tower "is ready to go."


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