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What Happened When a Wall Street Investment Giant Moved to Nashville

AllianceBernstein relocated 1,000 jobs in an effort to save $80 million a year. While employees who made the move relish the shorter commutes and higher quality of life, some complain of career stagnation and troubles hiring.

AllianceBernstein’s headquarters in downtown Nashville.

AllianceBernstein’s headquarters in downtown Nashville.

Photographer: Laura Thompson for Bloomberg Businessweek

Hundreds of employees are settling into AllianceBernstein’s new headquarters in downtown Nashville, exploring the tower’s spin and yoga classes, huddle rooms, and kombucha on tap. Outside, a scent of Budweiser and rib sauce wafts out of Rippy’s Bar & Grill before noon. The neighboring honky-tonks and pedal taverns—roving bars on wheels—constitute the bachelorette party mecca of the American South, where musicians sing about troubles caused by whiskey, wine, and beer, and customers order more.

This is what it can look like when a Wall Street firm leaves for a cheaper locale. “At night this can be really happening, as you can imagine,” says Chief Operating Officer Kate Burke, peering over the side of the amenity deck overlooking Nashville’s Broadway.