UBS's Potential Abandonment Is Killing The People Of Stamford, Connecticut

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Earlier this week, we discussed the possibility of UBS moving out of its Stamford, CT building (which houses the largest trading floor in the world) and into New York City. The bank, which has not been doing so hot of late, seems to believe that leaving Stamford would be a panacea for all its woes which, according UBS, boil down to no one wanting to work in Connecticut (rather than no one wanting to work at a place that doesn't pay and yells at you when you ask if this month's check will clear). Some staff have already been transferred with plans to move more later this summer but talk of moving the whole shebang, until recently, had been very casual. Once word got out that the bank has been speaking with developer Larry Silverstein about a possible deal at 3 World Trade Center, which conveniently has 5 trading floors located in “Tower 3,” they got upgraded to one step up from casual and got the people of Stamford freaking the fuck out.

Take Danny Ryan, a bartender and waiter at Morton’s. For the past fews days he's been struggling to answer one simple question- why?

“It just doesn’t make any sense,” said Danny Ryan, a bartender and server at Morton’s The Steakhouse, which is alongside the gleaming 700,000-square-foot UBS building. “Why would they build this stunning building with the biggest trading floor in the world, and then leave?”

Dino Sakakini, owner of Layla’s Falafel was less philosophical and more blunt. “Stamford will be crushed,” he told the Times. “Plain and simple. We’ll become a ghost town.”

Peter Charpentier, who "sells a whole lot of brown-bagged bottles of liquor to UBS employees every evening," was just plain pissed, both at CT officials and whoever's making the decisions at the bank, who apparently forgot about a little thing called 9/11.

“The State of Connecticut should be begging them to stay. I’m a man who believes in trickle-down economics. You take away UBS and it affects everything and everybody. What happens to all the restaurants? How about the window washers? The elevator operators? The janitors, the gardeners? It would be disastrous.” UBS is currently negotiating for space at 3 World Trade Center, an 80-story office tower planned for Lower Manhattan, and Mr. Charpentier wondered why anyone would want to move there. “You couldn’t pay me to work at a World Trade Center tower,” he said. “Have they forgotten about 9/11?”

Laure Aubuchon, Stamford's economic development director just wants a god damn straight answer so he can stop giving it away for free.

“Frankly, it’s hard to give an honest comment when we don’t know what’s going on,” said Laure Aubuchon, the city’s economic development director. “Is UBS leaving altogether? Are they moving the headquarters and leaving some people here? Is this all just a fire drill, and at the end of the day, they’re not only not leaving, but bringing in more employees? We’re operating on the premise that they’re going to stay, and we’re making them feel as loved and important as they are.”

As for UBS employees? Their emotions run the gamut.

One guy is psyched.

"I live in Manhattan, so I do the reverse commute...The train ride is like 45 minutes, then I ride my bike through Central Park to get home. If UBS moves back to Manhattan, I’ll save $300 a month in train fare and major aggravation. Awesome.”

Another guy is crushed.

“I moved up here from New York City 16 years ago because of UBS,” said the trader, who would not give his name. “They were relocating, so I said, O.K., here we go. I met my wife, we have a family; there’s no way I’m moving them to the city.”

And this guy wants everyone to shut up and get over it.

One trader, who declined to give his full name, was sipping a beer at an outdoor table. “What’s the big deal?” he said. “So we move out, and a nice big Costco moves in. Life goes on.”

In a hideous oversight, it appears the staff of Beamers Cafe were not asked for their take on the move, despite the fact that it would obviously be a serious blow to business. So we've reached out to a representative and will let you know how they're holding up when we hear back. In the meantime, it seems obvious that the people and business owners of Stamford would feel better if they knew another tenant would be taking over the 36,000 square foot space, so if you've got any ideas, do pitch them now.

Anxious Residents Ponder A Stamford Without UBS [NYT]

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