Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: Wednesday, May 30, 2001
Release #180-01

Contact: Sunny Mindel/Mathew Higgins 212-788-2958
View Mayor's
Press Conference
  Gregory Miley/Janel Patterson (EDC)
  Maura Gallucci (ESDC)
  John Calagna (MetLife) 212-578-6252


Will Keep Headquarters in Manhattan,
Relocate Nearly 1,000 Employees to Long Island City

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani announced today an agreement with MetLife to help retain MetLife's headquarters in Manhattan and relocate nearly 1,000 employees from Manhattan to Long Island City in Queens.

The Mayor was joined for the announcement by MetLife Chairman and CEO Robert H. Benmosche, Empire State Development Corporation Chief Operating Officer Kevin S. Corbett, Queens Borough President Claire Shulman, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Finance Robert M. Harding, and Economic Development President and New York City Industrial Development Agency (IDA) Chairman Michael G. Carey.

"MetLife has had a major presence in Manhattan since 1868 and established its headquarters at One Madison Avenue in 1909," Mayor Giuliani said. "I am pleased that the City was able to help MetLife maintain its headquarters in Manhattan, while bringing its tradition of leadership, security and growth to Long Island City. The move also reflects the transformation now underway in Long Island City, as many businesses recognize the neighborhood's proximity to Manhattan, and the exciting opportunities for commercial and residential development."

Kevin Corbett said, "MetLife's decision to relocate the majority of its workforce from One Madison Avenue could have been a real economic blow to New York. Instead, we've turned it into an economic opportunity, as we help bring nearly 1,000 MetLife jobs to Long Island City."

MetLife currently fully occupies the 1.4 million-square-foot Metropolitan Tower at One Madison Avenue. However, it recently leased approximately 1.2 million square feet in the building to Credit Suisse First Boston, making it necessary to relocate approximately 1,900 employees. MetLife had been initially focused on relocating the majority of its New York City operations to five locations out of New York State.

With the assistance of the City's IDA, the company identified a building in Long Island City that could accommodate an estimated 1,000 employees. Earlier this month, MetLife signed a lease with Brause Realty Inc. to occupy BridgePlaza North, a 404,000-square-foot, six-story building at 27-01 Bridge Plaza in Queens. In addition, another 300 employees from One Madison Avenue will be moving to New York locations, including One Penn Plaza in Manhattan, Hauppauge in Suffolk County, and a new White Plains facility in Westchester County.

"For 133 years, New York City has been our home, and we are pleased to keep a significant presence in New York City," said Robert Benmosche. "MetLife has a strong historic and emotional commitment to the City. We were founded here and became America's number one life insurer here. We are pleased to continue our strong bond with New York City, and we want to thank Mayor Giuliani and the IDA for working closely with us on this incentive package."

Under the terms of the agreement, MetLife will relocate 962 employees to Long Island City and continue to occupy 270,000 square feet of space at One Madison Avenue to house its corporate headquarters and approximately 500 employees. In addition, MetLife anticipates adding approximately 550 jobs in the City over the term of the 20-year transaction. In return, MetLife will receive $26.2 million (net present value) in discretionary tax and energy incentives over the next 20 years. In addition, New York State will provide $4.3 million in grants and loans for worker training and renovation costs.

"I am delighted that MetLife is moving to Long Island City," said Queens Borough President Claire Shulman. "I have no doubt that its employees will find a welcoming home in our borough. I congratulate MetLife on its wise choice, and look forward to cutting the ribbon on the new offices at BridgePlaza North."

Brause Realty Vice President David A. Brause said, "During the year we've spent renovating this former Rolls Royce manufacturing building, we have searched for the ideal tenant to call this space home. We are both pleased and honored that MetLife has chosen our building, and we look forward to many years together with this ideal tenant."

Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Finance Robert M. Harding said, "This deal is great news for the City of New York and the Borough of Queens. We will not only keep one of the major insurance and financial services institutions in the City, we will also jump-start the transformation of Long Island City into a major business district."

EDC President and IDA Chairman Michael G. Carey said, "With the recent progress at Queens West, the upzoning of Long Island City to encourage commercial development, and now MetLife coming to Queens, the future of Queens just got a lot brighter."

MetLife currently has assets of $302 billion and has expanded its operations internationally with operations in 12 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia. The company currently generates approximately $41.7 million in direct and indirect revenues for the City.

MetLife Inc, through its subsidiaries and affiliations, is a leading provider of insurance and other financial services to individuals and group customers. The MetLife companies serve approximately nine million individual households in the U.S. and companies and institutions with 33 million employees and members.

The IDA is administered by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the City's primary vehicle for economic development services. Using its financial and real estate resources, EDC helps develop businesses and create jobs throughout the five boroughs. EDC is also responsible for the redevelopment of City-owned waterfront properties.

The IDA provides financing assistance to businesses, including small industrial and manufacturing companies, and not-for-profit organizations. The IDA is also a conduit agency for the issuance of tax-exempt industrial revenue bonds to assist qualified entities to finance expansion opportunities. The IDA also offers qualified companies abatements and sales, real estate and mortgage recording tax benefits to help them remain and expand in the City.