Skip to main content

Merrill Lynch Too Big For New York, Too Good For New Jersey

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Finding a new home is hard! Merrill Lynch execs engaged in a little bitching and moaning to the Post (who gloriously came up with the headline "For Merrill, Size Counts," because Q. Who doesn't love a penis joke? A. No one) today, re: its search for new Headquarters and it sounds, completely objectively, and not taking league tables into account, like it sucks to be ML. The options at the World Trade Center and World Financial center are "simply too small" and moving downtown would force the bulge to add a second building in Jersey City. And as someone who knows the Garden State, such an unseemly measure would not bode well for Merrill Lynch, which fancies itself a Goldman Sachs (more on that later).
What about the Hotel Pennsylvania spot, located across the street from Penn Station (which, let's not kid ourselves, many Merrill employees must, by the constraints of the commute, must pass through at least twice daily, anyway)? Not "attractive enough." (Stan O'Neal only cares about looks.) Furthermore, the property, owned by Vornado Realty Trust, requires "prolonged civic and city variances and approvals to be as large enough to fill the bank's needs—at least 3 million square feet with one large 80,000-foot trading floor" that are "too iffy."
Hudson Yards? Let's not get ahead of ourselves—the site's nowhere near ready, and, as a Merrill exec pointed out, he and his men "[are] not pioneers," or heroes, either.
Brookfield Properties and Silverstein Properties are reportedly vying for Merrill's affection, but are not winning any points with traders, who are asking for one big floor, so as to facilitate "eye to eye contact," as opposed to several smaller ones, which B and S are proposing. One source went to far as to call the head of Silverstein "insane," but maybe what's insane is beating the dead horse that is Goldman Sachs favoritism ("They put $600 million into our competitor's pocket…at a bare minimum, we know that . . . first and foremost, we are at a competitive disadvantage.") and not focusing on the task at hand? Who's to say.
We are reminded, of course, that things could be worse for Merrill Lynch—they could be JP Morgan, and stuck with a hideous eyesore of a building that is being proposed for the bargain price of $2 billion, and is practically begging for a terrorist attack.
We'd like to help out the Lynchettes, but the only other options we can come with are the soon-to-be-vacated Trump Casino in Atlantic City, and West Bushwick, which actually strikes us as perfect. Got any ideas?
For Merrill, Size Counts [New York Post]