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UBS Said to End Talks to Move to NYC’s World Trade Center

UBS AG (UBSN), Switzerland’s biggest lender, is no longer in negotiations to lease space at lower Manhattan’s World Trade Center, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The company called off talks yesterday, said the person, who asked not to be named because the discussions were private. UBS had been considering a plan to move the staff of its U.S. investment bank unit from Stamford, Connecticut, to the site, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said in June.

“UBS has been conducting a review of its real estate requirements in the tri-state area,” the Zurich-based bank said in an e-mailed statement today. “Part of this review involved discussions with World Trade Center management in downtown Manhattan. These discussions have been productive, but we are focused on Midtown alternatives at the present time.”

The decision takes away a leading candidate to anchor 3 World Trade Center, one of three office towers planned by developer Larry Silverstein along the eastern side of the 16-acre (6-hectare) trade center site. It was prompted in part by the bank’s 49 percent drop in second-quarter net income, led by a slump in investment-bank earnings, two people familiar with the situation said.

Midtown Sites

The Midtown options don’t involve any other skyscraper developments, eliminating Related Co.’s Hudson Yards site, Brookfield Properties Corp.’s Manhattan West and Vornado Realty Trust (VNO)’s Hotel Pennsylvania sites, said the people, who declined to be identified because the talks are private.

Christiaan Brakman, a UBS spokesman based in New York, declined to comment beyond the statement.

The called-off discussions were reported by Reuters earlier today.

UBS’s withdrawal won’t negatively affect the outlook for leasing Trade Center offices, said Bud Perrone, a Silverstein spokesman.

“It’s unfortunate that UBS has been forced to re-evaluate its real estate strategy,” Perrone said in an e-mailed statement. “They are a great company and a big factor in the city’s economy.”

UBS leases more than 3 million square feet of office space for various operations in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut region, Torie von Alt, a spokeswoman, said in June.

To contact the reporters on this story: David M. Levitt in New York at dlevitt@bloomberg.net; Christine Harper in New York at charper@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.net

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