Wall Street Is Over If You Want It …
Matt Coyne March 21, 2011, 2:46 p.m.
… as the center of the financial world anyway.
At least that’s what Bloomberg reasons, citing declining rents and the flight of financial firms to other parts of the city as the signal that Wall Street, well, isn’t quite Wall Street anymore.
“There was a time when it made sense to be on Wall Street because you could meet a lot of other people in finance face to face just by walking a little bit,” N.Y.U. financial historian Richard Sylla told Bloomberg. “If there’s a nicer place to locate a financial services firm than old downtown New York, you go there.”
The average asking rents for the Street at the end of February were $36.51 a square foot, $2 and change cheaper than the rest of downtown, and significantly cheaper than the $44.74 per square foot average in the rest of the city. Taken as its own submarket, Wall Street rents would be cheaper than all others in Manhattan, save four.
In the place of the financiers of old, except Deutsche Bank and Bank of New York Mellon, who still call the Street home, we get non-profits, engineers, architects and media companies—all citing a variety of reasons for their Wall Street addresses, but mostly because it’s cheap. Oh, and how could we forget the rise of FiDi? That’s right, people: From 1997 to 2008 nine Wall Street buildings have become condos.
The spot Wall Street is losing out to? That would be the Plaza District, home of Icahn Enterprises, CitiGroup, and KKR, which recently saw a bunch of deals inked for over $100 per square foot.
Old Wall Street, can, however, rest assured that while it might not be home to the masters of the universe any more, usurpers will never have quite the same ring to them as Wall Street. Honestly, who the hell would see a movie called “Plaza District?”