Clinton Foundation to Leave Harlem for Wall Street

By Jeff Mays on March 17, 2011 7:23am 

Former President Bill Clinton.
Former President Bill Clinton.
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AP

By Jeff Mays

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

HARLEM — President Bill Clinton's foundation is giving up most of its office space in Harlem in favor of a building on Wall Street, but Clinton himself will retain his taxpayer-financed office here.

The William J. Clinton Foundation will give up its office space at the 14 story building at 55 W. 125th Street between Lenox and Fifth avenues for an 18th floor 25,000-square-foot space at 77 Water St, the New York Post reported.

But Clinton will retain more than 8,700 feet of space on the 14th floor of the building as the office space provided to all former presidents, the Wall Street Journal reported.

CB Richard Ellis broker Roshan Shah who represented the foundation told the New York Observer that the move was about "controlling costs." The asking price at both buildings was about $40 per square foot but the foundation was able to negotiate a lower rent downtown while expanding to 25,000 square feet from 18,000 square feet.

Shah and fellow broker Keith Caggiano declined to comment when contacted by DNAinfo, referring all questions to the Clinton Foundation which did not respond to requests for comment.

The foundation plans to finalize a 10-year-lease in the next three weeks.

The William J. Clinton Foundation arrived in Harlem 10 years ago to great fanfare and a celebration in the streets. Clinton chose Harlem after controversy over the cost of space at an oppulent tower he planned to rent in Midtown. His arrival was seen as a sign that Harlem's burgeoning renaissance was legitimate.

Since then, the foundation has worked to help small businesses and taught financial literacy in local schools while focusing on international issues such HIV/AIDS and climate change.

Barbara Askins, president and CEO of the 125th Street Business Improvement District, said Clinton will still have an impact in Harlem.

"As long as he is still working and supporting things in Harlem it's good," Askins told DNAinfo. "There are a lot of organizations here he worked with that I hope stay on the list."

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