When Bill Ackman founded Pershing Square Capital Management back in 2004, he named his firm after a New York City location smack dab in the middle of it all.
And like Grand Central, Bill Ackman built his company into a place that people knew and sometimes had to be, doing it all from the navel of New York City. But Ackman is also a New Yorker who understands that real estate is what makes people cool , so years ago he relocated his people to 7th Ave and 57th where a modern hedge fund belongs. He could look out at Central Park, cross the street to Carnegie Hall and even roll next door for lunch at Trattoria Dell'arte. Bill Ackman was a king and upper central midtown was where he belonged.
But, oh, how things have changed. Time (and Valeant, and Herbalife, and JC Penney) has not been kind to poor Billy Acks, and now Pershing Square Capital in on the move again:
The hedge-fund manager next year will move his firm, Pershing Square Capital Management, from the 42nd floor of a Plaza District tower overlooking Central Park to an auto-dealership building on 11th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen, three blocks from Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club. The neighborhood has had to overcome a lingering image from its days of gangs, prostitutes and drug dealers.
It is from this milieu that Ackman and his team will now seek to resuscitate Chipotle and themselves. In fairness to Ackman's realtor, the area is changing; luxury condos are popping up all along 11th Ave, and The Daily Show studio is just two blocks south...right near the Hustler Club. Pershing Square's new corner is also NYC's highest concentration of luxury car dealerships, giving Ackman a a shot to dip his toes in the retail auto biz.
We can already see Bill taking time out from trying to burn Herbalife to the ground by throwing on a plaid blazer and trying to put some good folks behind the wheel of a brand new sedan. He likes back end and nothing feels better than an honest sale. It will be good for Pershing Square rank and file to see the car salesman's mantra emblazoned on the entrance to their new digs: "Today's the day, you're the guy, this is the place."
Sure, Bloomberg reports that Ackman's new offices are luxe as fuck and have an amenity nearest and dearest to his particular heart...
Pershing Square is taking about 50,000 square feet on two new floors, to be built atop of the current eight, according to a person with knowledge of the plans. There also will be a gym, outdoor terraces, space for the Pershing Square Foundation and a tennis court on the roof for use by all office tenants.
...but Bill is going to be thinking about moving steel off the lot when he's hitting those balls with ragged aggression. Pershing Square needs a reboot and what says "we're hungry to earn" more than becoming literal car salespeople.
And if Pershing Square isn't actually making the move to Hell's Kitchen to sell cars, it should at least use the new neighborhood to study the dynamics of the sex worker industry, or at the very least build a market it can use to short Trevor Noah.