For sale cheap: the world’s largest trading floor.
The property was part of a lavish development in Stamford, Conn., in the 1990s designed to lure what was then Swiss Bank Corp. and thousands of workers away from New York.
Soaring 40 feet high, the trading floor was bigger than a football field, unimpeded by columns and soon filled with hundreds of stock, bond and currency traders.
Now the office complex and its once-iconic trading floor are both mostly empty and up for grabs
UBS moved its Stamford operations out of 677 Washington mostly to space nearby that had formerly housed RBS, which also has shrunk its presence in the area. UBS reported last year that its Connecticut staff had dropped by 500 to roughly 2,000 employees, compared with 5,000 five years ago.
The picture was a lot rosier in 1994 when the state of Connecticut lured Swiss Bank to Stamford partly by offering $120 million in tax credits. Back then, with Rudolph Giuliani just starting his first term as New York City mayor, businesses were leaving New York and Stamford was dreaming of becoming a new financial center.
But Stamford has been struggling ever since the 2008 financial crash, even as New York has rebounded. In 2011, when UBS was eyeing a move back into Manhattan, Connecticut gave the firm a $20 million incentive package to stay.
What does one do with a trading floor that has expanded over the years to about 100,000 square feet? Suggestions have ranged from the whimsical—like a roller derby rink—to the more prosaic, like call centers.
Ms. Smith suggested the floor could be converted into a film or television studio. “A lot of television has come out of New York into Stamford,” she said.
The mortgage on 677 Washington was made in 2004 and converted into commercial mortgage-backed securities. Its sale will likely mean big losses for some of the bondholders because of the low value of the property.
Last year, the vacant former Pitney Bowes headquarters in Stamford sold for close to $40 million, or roughly $90 a square foot. At that rate, 677 Washington would be worth about $65 million.
I'm guessing far less, unless Stamford can convince De Blasio to ship NYC's homeless problem here - the City's paying something like $40,000 per year to put up homeless families, so even paying top-dollar here would probably achieve an economy.