JPMorgan Chase & Co., the biggest U.S. bank, is considering moving its headquarters within New York as the company has fewer employees in the nation’s largest city, according to a person briefed on the discussions.
The potential plans, which include taking office space in Manhattan developments at the World Trade Center or Hudson Yards, are in early stages and no decision is imminent, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. JPMorgan has moved back-office jobs to New Jersey, Delaware and Florida to cut expenses, the person said.
Banks, under pressure to boost returns, have been seeking lower-cost locations for employees who don’t interact directly with clients. JPMorgan is examining its property holdings in New York, where it had 11.4 million square feet (1.1 million square meters) at the end of 2013, including 1.3 million at its 270 Park Ave. headquarters.
JPMorgan sold its 60-story skyscraper at 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza last year to Shanghai-based Fosun International Ltd., and began moving 2,000 employees to offices in Brooklyn’s MetroTech Center this year. JPMorgan owns the Park Avenue building as well as the former headquarters of Bear Stearns Cos. at 383 Madison Ave., which it acquired in 2008.
The bank may keep 270 Park and take some space in new projects, or it could opt to refurbish the Madison Avenue building, said the person. Any decisions probably won’t result in moves for several years, the person said. The New York Post reported details of JPMorgan’s plans earlier today.
Citigroup Inc., the third-biggest U.S. bank, will move its New York headquarters from 399 Park Ave. to buildings it occupies on Greenwich Street in lower Manhattan, Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat said in April. The bank will leave the Park Avenue building when its lease expires in 2017.
Bank of New York Mellon Corp., the world’s largest custody bank, agreed in May to sell its headquarters at 1 Wall St. to a joint venture led by Macklowe Properties for $585 million. BNY Mellon is moving to Brookfield Place, the lower Manhattan complex formerly known as the World Financial Center.
Other banks have relocated jobs out of New York, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which added personnel in Dallas and Salt Lake City. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said at an economic summit in Miami last year that Florida has more business-friendly policies than New York, and he joked that he sometimes wonders why the company doesn’t move to Miami.
In June, JPMorgan paid $14.7 million to buy a Jersey City building it had been leasing, according to the Record newspaper in nearby Hackensack. A month earlier, New Jersey awarded the bank $22.5 million in annual tax credits for 10 years to create 1,000 jobs in the state and retain 2,612 others.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey owns the World Trade Center site, and Silverstein Properties Inc. has plans for three buildings at the location, with 4 World Trade Center already open. One World Trade Center, co-developed by the Durst Organization, is scheduled to open by year-end.
Hudson Yards is a 28-acre (11-hectare) project by Related Cos., developer of New York’s Time Warner Center, that the firm calls the biggest private real estate development in U.S. history. The site, over rail yards along the Hudson River in midtown Manhattan, will feature five office towers and 5,000 residences, according to Related’s website for the project.
“We’re starting to see lots of interest from even financial-services sectors, hedge funds, private-equity funds,” Related CEO Jeff Blau said in a Bloomberg Television interview last month. “Interestingly, they’re all looking for large floor plates. And so if you think about the buildings that exist today around New York City, there’s not many options for them.”