In 1983, when its balance sheet was a modest $462 million before taxes, Goldman Sachs got about $9 million in incentives to move to that grumpy old building at 85 Broad. This year, with revenues twenty-five times higher than they were then, Goldman’s getting about $115 million to stay in lower Manhattan.
In fairness to Goldman Sachs—in case anyone was interested in fairness to Goldman Sachs—the deal was negotiated in the wake of September 11th, when the state and the city were worried about keeping big tenants nearby, and came long before taxpayers gave the well-connected company a government loan and paid out its A.I.G. debt at a tidy 100 cents on the dollar.
But that doesn’t stop Bloomberg News from using the subsidies to book-end a sprawling, 3,800-word story about the company’s sweetheart year. And, as the story points out, the company that was Too Big To Fail last fall is only getting bigger. The new building has twice as much space, and it’s $200 million dollars under its $2.3-billion dollar budgets. Perhaps that’s why—unlike its bland predecessor—the new digs even has at least one flourish: A brightly-colored, $5-million dollar abstract painting by the Ethiopian-American artist Julie Mehretu hangs in the lobby. So this year’s bonus: mostly aesthetic.