Reporting Fran Schneidau
STAMFORD, CT (AP / WCBS 880) - Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy and UBS Americas chief executive Phil Lofts were to reveal plans for the company’s future in the state on Tuesday.
WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau On The Story
A news conference was scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday at the UBS Stamford headquarters, which includes the world’s largest trading floor (93,000 square feet). Officials aren’t saying what the announcement will be.
The announcement follows media reports that UBS is seeking to move offices from Stamford to midtown Manhattan, after dropping plans to relocate to the World Trade Center.
UBS announced Tuesday that it is cutting 3,500 jobs worldwide to save money, but declined to say how the cuts will be distributed geographically.
Jack Condlin, president and chief executive officer of the Stamford Chamber of Commerce, said talk of UBS moving at least some of its business from Stamford began about a year ago when the city’s business community “heard rumblings about it.” Real estate brokers were particularly alarmed, he said.
Stamford, a city of 117,000 residents, made a strong play during the 1980s and 90s for financial services companies that do business in New York, just 25 miles southwest. A move by UBS out of the city would have been a major blow to Malloy, who was mayor from 1995 to 2009 and took credit during his campaign for governor last year for playing a large role in transforming the city from a declining mill town into a financial center.
UBS’s prescence in Stamford brought the banking some solid tax breaks, but most of those tax breaks have since expired.
Joe McGee, vice president of the Business Council of Fairfield County, who helped to shape the original UBS Stamford deal says rumors of the company’s departure are inaccurate and overblown.
“What we expect today is that there will be a commitment that they’re staying in Connecticut, a major chunck of their employment base will stay here,” he told WCBS 880′s Fran Schneidau.
Unemployment in the Bridgeport-Stamford labor market was 8.5 percent in July, lower than the statewide rate of 9.2 percent.
Condlin said commercial real estate has a vacancy rate that is “still too high” and home prices have plummeted by between 10 percent and 15 percent.
“Stamford has always had a stronger economy,” he said. “We’ve always had job growth. Now, it’s job loss, but less than the rest of the state.”
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