Chase to Build and ‘Bear’ ItMar 21, 2008
JPMorgan Chase will move ahead with building a tower at the World Trade Center, even though its plan to relocate its investment-banking headquarters to Ground Zero was scuttled by the acquisition of Bear Stearns earlier this week, The Post has learned.
“We are exploring other alternatives there and believe we can use it,” JPMorgan Chase spokesman Joseph Evangelisti said of the World Trade Center site, where bank officials struck an agreement with the Port Authority to build Tower 5.
“We are going to utilize the agreement,” Evangelisti said.
JPMorgan’s intent to build at the World Trade Center was cast in doubt earlier this week when the bank acquired Bear Stearns for the rock-bottom price of $236 million. The deal includes Bear Stearns’ tower and trading floors on Madison Avenue at 47th Street.
Evangelisti said JPMorgan will move its investment-banking headquarters to the Bear Stearns building but will develop the World Trade Center site for another purpose.
Sources familiar with the talks about Tower 5 said it will likely not include large trading floors that were supposed to jut out from the upper floors of the structure and that had been derided as a “beer belly.”
In a bid to keep the bank at the World Trade Center site, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose district includes lower Manhattan, spoke with senior JPMorgan officials earlier this week and was told the company would develop the site.
“We have every expectation that they will be there, but the design of the building may change,” said Silver spokesman Dan Weiler.
JPMorgan and the PA agreed last June to a deal that would allow the bank to build a 1.3 million-square-foot tower in exchange for a 92-year lease worth roughly $300 million to the agency, which owns the World Trade Center.
“The company is giving every indication of its continued interest and we look forward to JP Morgan playing an important role in rebuilding the World Trade Center,” PA spokeswoman Candace McAdams said yesterday.
The site is now the location of the old Deutsche Bank building, which has been vacant since the 9/11 terror attacks. The building is expected to be decontaminated and removed by the end of this year.