Connecticut will be giving up to $115 million in state aid to support a hedge fund's plans to build a new corporate headquarters in Stamford and create up to 1,000 jobs within 10 years, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Wednesday.
Bridgewater Associates, currently based in Westport, intends to build the $750 million, 750,000-square-foot headquarters in the Harbor Point development by 2017, retain its current workforce of 1,225 employees, plus add up to 1,000 jobs, Malloy said. The state aid, which includes grants, tax credits and a forgivable loan, requires the firm to meet the job creation and retention goals.
"For a long time, our state failed to compete for the kinds of good paying jobs with good benefits that will grow and sustain our economy," Malloy said in a statement. "The jobs we are announcing today have the potential to grow our economy in a profound way because the spin-off effect of these positions will drive growth in other sectors."
The governor said the project "signals to the rest of the world that Connecticut is strengthening its leadership position in the very competitive financial services sector."
Officials noted, however, that the project isn't a done deal. Local zoning approvals are needed, and the company plans to examine the site more closely.
Bridgewater manages about $130 billion in investments worldwide for a variety of clients, including pension funds, university endowments, charities, foreign governments and central banks.
Greg Jensen, co-chief executive of Bridgewater, said the firm will build a forested campus that's environmentally friendly and will restore a piece of Stamford's waterfront.
"Connecticut is a great place to do business and we are excited about this partnership with the state," Jensen said.
The firm considered other sites for the headquarters, including ones out of state, and Connecticut's aid package was a key component of the decision to relocate to Stamford, a Bridgewater spokesman said, adding that expanding in Westport wasn't desirable because the firm's employees are in several buildings.
The state aid, which comes from Malloy's "Next Five" economic development program, includes $80 million in tax credits, a $25 million loan the company won't have to pay back if it meets job goals and $10 million in grants for job training and installing alternative energy systems.
Bridgewater is the eighth company accepted into Malloy's "First Five" and "Next Five" programs.
Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said Bridgewater's planned move was "bittersweet" news for his town. He said Westport doesn't want to lose the 1,200 jobs, but is glad they're staying in Connecticut. He also said Bridgewater executives have indicated that the firm will maintain some operations in Westport.
Joseloff said Westport doesn't have available acreage for a 750,000-square-foot building, and zoning rules prohibit new buildings over 10,000 square feet.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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