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antinimby
October 10th, 2006, 05:46 PM
Wall Street West
Firms may back up offices in Pa. in case of new terror

BY PAUL D. COLFORD
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Talk about macabre marketing.


Executives of New York firms are due today at a Pocono Mountains golf resort to hear a pitch for Wall Street West - a plan to develop backup business offices in the event of another deadly terrorist attack.

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has committed more than $30 million to an effort to build and wire satellite office space in the northeastern part of the state - an area some 80 miles or more from Manhattan.

The plans are so far along that construction is set to begin in June on a 300,000-square-foot corporate campus in rural Middle Smithfield Township - population 11,500.

The project has become known as the Penn Regional Business Center.
"Wall Street West is an idea and a vision ... and we're ready to go," Debbie Burke, assistant director of public affairs for the Penn Regional Business Center, told the Daily News yesterday.

A brochure for the center offers this sales pitch:
"Terrorism experts agree it's not a question of if there will be another terrorist attack ... only when," it reads. "In the event of a disaster, a business continuity office at PRBC is ideal."

After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the federal government recommended that financial services companies establish backup sites and devise "business continuity" plans to safeguard their operations against terrorists. The goal is to resume the processing of financial transactions as early as two hours after an attack.

Bigwigs from more than 20 leading Wall Street firms are expected on the 30-minute helicopter ride to the Poconos.

Wall Street West represents a huge, cautious step since 9/11 jolted companies, especially those located in lower Manhattan, into relocating some operations and planning how they would do business in the event of another calamity.

In 2002, the New York Stock Exchange reportedly considered sites in Westchester, where it could safely resume trading activity if its landmark headquarters at 23 Wall St. were incapacitated.

Penn Regional developer Larry Simon said he won't build unless tenants are signed, but added, "I don't see anything that would stop me from meeting that groundbreaking timetable."

Simon, who will be among today's presenters, plans to build nearly 5 million square feet of office space tailored to the needs of financial services companies.

"We can't control the disaster, but we sure as hell can control the recovery," he said. "We're talking about the preservation of mom and dad's 401(k) plan and Johnny's college fund."

Originally published on October 10, 2006 (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/local/story/460139p-387128c.html)

© 2006 Daily News, L.P.

JCMAN320
October 10th, 2006, 08:24 PM
Damm Pennsylvania really must be hurting for business. They are actually basing their success on a disaster.

z22
October 10th, 2006, 09:01 PM
This should have been done long time ago. Why maketing it now?

JCMAN320
October 10th, 2006, 10:09 PM
Do they know something we don't? :(

antinimby
October 11th, 2006, 02:42 PM
Pennsylvania makes money whether there's an attack or not.

I don't see why they couldn't have built the back up in one of the Upstate NY counties or on the New Jersey (JCMan, ;) ) side of the Delaware.

Radiohead
December 7th, 2006, 10:43 PM
This might not be all that off target. But rather than the trading moving to PA, many of the workers are. Given the cost of real estate in NYC and NJ (not to mention the taxes), I know a few Wall Streeters who are actively looking to move to eastern PA and commute into the city. I wouldn't do it, but apparently it is a cheaper option, even taking the commute costs into account.

BTW, is it true NJ is slapping a 30% tax onto residents who sell and plan on moving out of state. This can not be constitutional, if true. I'd move into an apartment for a month to skirt the tax.

JCMAN320
December 7th, 2006, 11:43 PM
Radio I don't think so about the 30% tax. I haven't heard anythign about that. They are giving 20% property tax breaks to home owners and even renters. I think it's going to pass very soon.

Radiohead
December 8th, 2006, 12:55 AM
Actually, JCMAN, I was way off on the %. It's not 30% but 2%. I was talking to someone on a flight who was getting ready to sell his house (but was alreading working out of state), and was getting nailed for $6,000 for an estimated gross income tax. Here's a link to the state's taxation page that explains it:

http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/gitrepfaqs.htm

If I'm him, I'm not paying that tax. They'd have to come after me.

Strattonport
December 8th, 2006, 01:05 AM
That's confidence for you. :rolleyes:

Expect NYC to dish out even more incentives in the coming years. There needs to be a push to allow for more offices outside of Lower Manhattan. Why not Long Island City? Citi has dedicated itself there, but unfortunately I can't speak the same for MetLife.

kliq6
December 8th, 2006, 01:55 PM
Damm Pennsylvania really must be hurting for business. They are actually basing their success on a disaster.

JC built itself the same way, stealing jobs from NYC, without a disaster.

kliq6
December 8th, 2006, 01:56 PM
This might not be all that off target. But rather than the trading moving to PA, many of the workers are. Given the cost of real estate in NYC and NJ (not to mention the taxes), I know a few Wall Streeters who are actively looking to move to eastern PA and commute into the city. I wouldn't do it, but apparently it is a cheaper option, even taking the commute costs into account.

BTW, is it true NJ is slapping a 30% tax onto residents who sell and plan on moving out of state. This can not be constitutional, if true. I'd move into an apartment for a month to skirt the tax.

If they are wall street traders and cant afford tri-state area, ive got some news for them, they wont be employed for long in this industry

pianoman11686
June 8th, 2007, 09:39 AM
Pennsylvania Tries to Sell Itself as Backup for Wall Street During a Disaster

By PATRICK McGEEHAN
Published: June 8, 2007

Hoping to capitalize on fears of the chaos another terrorist attack might cause in New York’s financial industry, Pennsylvania officials are promoting a corner of their state as Wall Street West.

They maintain that since the region is about 100 miles west of Manhattan, it is outside New York City’s theoretical nuclear blast zone. It is ideally situated, they say, to be a safe retreat from the metropolis, but close enough to be linked directly to the computers that run the banking and trading systems.

“We think we’re uniquely positioned,” said Catherine A. Bolton, project director of the Wall Street West consortium, whose goal is to lure financial companies based in New York to put backup facilities in a nine-county region in northeast Pennsylvania. “There are places in New Jersey, but they’re not outside the blast zone.”

Yesterday, Gov. Edward G. Rendell of Pennsylvania was in New York announcing plans to build a critical connection: a $24 million network of fiber optic cables to carry data from Manhattan to the Poconos. Among the missing links, though, is any sign of serious interest from firms in the real Wall Street area.

So far, none of the big banks, investment banks or insurance companies based in the city have made commitments to putting data backup centers in that part of Pennsylvania.

Instead, they have been spreading out within the metropolitan area to give themselves the flexibility to react to crises ranging from power failures to natural disasters and terrorism.

A few months ago, Goldman Sachs, the big investment bank, took over the lease on office space in Greenwich, Conn., which had housed a hedge fund that shut down. Goldman officials see that space, which is just 25 miles north of Manhattan, as a potential backup trading floor if their headquarters near Wall Street is damaged or becomes disconnected.

Since the Sept. 11 attack, financial companies have given priority to developing backup systems and disaster-recovery plans. In the immediate aftermath, federal regulators and elected officials issued some bold pronouncements about separating primary and backup systems.

Richard A. Grasso, the former chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, used the phrase “nuclear distance” in describing where the exchange was considering putting its secondary trading floor. Banking regulators discussed the need to have the backup sites outside a “blast zone” with a radius of 50 miles or more.

Those statements confounded Wall Street executives because backup centers could not reliably capture trading data instantaneously — known as synchronous data storage — if they were much more than 100 miles away. They eventually persuaded the regulators to restrain their rhetoric.

In May 2003, federal banking regulators clarified their security recommendations, leaving much of the judgment to company officials. They did not specify a distance but said backup facilities where financial firms set up computers to copy information on all their trading and banking transactions could stay “within the current range limit of synchronous data storage technology.”

A point emphasized by the advocates of the Wall Street West region is that it sits just inside that 100-mile limit. But first, there has to be a high-speed data link to Manhattan.

Mr. Rendell announced yesterday that the consortium had chosen Level 3 Communications to build the fiber optic network that would complete the connection.

“We’re now ready to go,” Mr. Rendell said. “We have everything in line.”

So far, the project has received a $15 million grant from the federal Department of Labor to train local workers for the jobs that Wall Street West hopes to attract. Mr. Rendell said he thought the project could get $4 million to $5 million more from Washington. But he said the public investment would not go beyond about $25 million unless the financial industry embraced the idea.

Level 3 has agreed to spend $8 million toward the cost of building the local loops of wires and splice them into the existing networks running westward from New York City, said Raouf Abdel, president of the business markets group at Level 3 in Broomfield, Colo. Public coffers would pay the balance of the bill.

Mr. Abdel said that the entire network could be built within 18 months and that Wall Street firms could be operating data centers in the area by early 2009. But first, Level 3 executives and Pennsylvania officials must persuade some companies to be pioneers in the Poconos.

Level 3 does not plan to start building the network until it has signed up customers who, as a group, will pay it at least $625,000 every three months to provide telecommunications service, Mr. Abdel said. No contracts have been signed yet, but, he said, “We are seeing interest.”

There may be places in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut that are suitable alternatives for Wall Street’s backup sites, but most of them are considerably more costly than northeast Pennsylvania, Mr. Abdel said.

“There is a need for large data center space measured in tens of thousands of square feet, and cheap real estate helps,” he said.

Mr. Rendell admitted that developing Wall Street West “is a little bit of a chicken and egg.”

Without the critical infrastructure, big financial companies will not seriously consider making the move. On the other hand, Mr. Rendell said, Pennsylvania is reluctant to spend too much money building up an area to appeal to a specific industry until it knows that there will be a payoff.

“If no one decides to come, we won’t build it,” Mr. Rendell said. “The sites that are under preparation, those are easily transferable to other uses.”

New York State officials, who are trying to lure the same financial companies to set up data centers upstate, said the benefits of Wall Street West might have been overstated.

“The infrastructure is not the total answer,” said Dan Gunderson, who is the chief economic development official for upstate New York. “The infrastructure can be found in many different locations.”

But Mr. Gunderson, who formerly was an economic development official in Pennsylvania, gave his competitors credit for trying.

“I think they’re serious about selling the product that they’re trying to develop,” he said.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/08/nyregion/08wall.html)

kliq6
June 8th, 2007, 09:44 AM
Pennsylvania makes money whether there's an attack or not.

I don't see why they couldn't have built the back up in one of the Upstate NY counties or on the New Jersey (JCMan, ;) ) side of the Delaware.

Penn is cheaper, Upstate NY and Jersey cost alot and these sites have to be 150 miles from the main building, thus making Penn better choice

kliq6
June 8th, 2007, 09:46 AM
That's confidence for you. :rolleyes:

Expect NYC to dish out even more incentives in the coming years. There needs to be a push to allow for more offices outside of Lower Manhattan. Why not Long Island City? Citi has dedicated itself there, but unfortunately I can't speak the same for MetLife.

LIC will never become a big player since tax wise its no cheaper then manhattan so why go there, Metlife realised that and Citi, well they have so many problems including the fact there firm should be broken into three companies, that soon then later they wont be out there as much as now