July 27, 2004
Firm That Lost 658 in Twin Towers Finds a Home on 59th
By CHARLES V. BAGLI
Nearly three years after 658 Cantor Fitgerald employees were killed in the attack on the World Trade Center, the stock and bond trading company has found a new home five miles from ground zero, on the East Side of Manhattan.
Cantor signed a lease last week to move into space now occupied by Bloomberg L.P., the business information company founded by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, at Park Avenue and 59th Street, where Cantor plans to erect a monument to the co-workers who died in the Sept. 11 attack.
The company expects to move to its new headquarters from its temporary offices nearby early next year, after Bloomberg has moved to its new headquarters at Lexington Avenue and 58th Street. Cantor, which got about $30 million in state and federal cash grants, said it would add more than 200 employees in the coming years.
"This is a milestone in that we've completed the rebuilding process," said Howard W. Lutnick, chief executive of Cantor. "Now we're going forward and expanding."
Cantor has 618 employees today, up from about 300 after the attack, but still short of the nearly 1,000 before it.
"We're pleased that Cantor is rebuilding a business that is so important to the bond markets," said Charles A. Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation. "They're committed to New York."
Cantor Fitzgerald's announcement came after years of negotiations and some friction with state and city officials and between the Bloomberg administration and Sheldon Silver, speaker of the State Assembly. City and state officials though Mr. Lutnick was seeking too much in subsidies and incentives, but no one was willing to criticize Mr. Lutnick publicly for fear it would prompt a backlash from people sympathetic to the company's losses.
Cantor lobbied successfully in Congress in 2002 for a special appropriation for companies that "suffered a disproportionate loss" of life on Sept. 11. State officials subsequently agreed to give Cantor $23.5 million of the $33 million appropriation. In addition, the company received a $6 million grant from a federal program for job creation and retention in Lower Manhattan.
City and state officials say that Mr. Lutnick originally vowed that he would not return to Lower Manhattan and did not want to be in a skyscraper. He hired Mitchell Konsker, a broker at Cushman & Wakefield, to look for locations. Two years ago, Cantor was close to a deal to build a new $100 million headquarters in a former department store in Union Square.
Those negotiations collapsed, and last year, Mr. Lutnick considered a move to 10 Hanover Square in Lower Manhattan, where rents are considerably cheaper than uptown. Mr. Silver, whose district includes Lower Manhattan, supported the move.
According to state officials and real estate executives, Mr. Lutnick wanted $12 million more in subsidies. Much to Mr. Silver's chagrin, the Bloomberg administration balked at providing benefits beyond the grants the company had already obtained.
Mr. Silver said yesterday through a spokesman that he was "disappointed a deal couldn't be worked out."
Mr. Lutnick said that he had wanted to buy an office condominium at 10 Hanover, but that it proved impossible.
So Cantor eventually went back uptown, to 110 E. 59th Street, where it plans to move into the bottom seven floors. The company has the rights to put up signs on the building. Mr. Lutnick said he was working with the Guggenheim museum to design an appropriate monument for the plaza outside.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company