FINANCIAL DISTRICT — Verizon Communications will be selling or leasing about half the space in its towering Manhattan headquarters at 140 West St., the telecom giant announced Tuesday.
The decision comes about a month after Verizon announced a plan to move 1,100 workers based in the landmarked building to a new, renovated call center at 395 Flatbush Ave., a plan many of the workers have been fighting against.
The company said in statement that it intended to keep its headquarters in Manhattan, but will market 18 of the upper floors of its 31-story high-rise, keeping floors 1 through 10 for its employees. The company said it’s also considering leasing the ground-floor space in the building for potential retail, restaurant and other storefront opportunities.
Verizon said this plan is in “concert with the grand vision” for a growing and thriving Lower Manhattan, but Council Member Margaret Chin, who represents the area, strongly disagreed.
"Today our suspicions have been confirmed. Verizon has hinted at their plans to assess their real estate holdings at 140 West Street, but all along, we knew their ultimate plan was to sell off parts of the building — and eventually the entire building — to the highest bidder," ," Chin said in a statement.
"Verizon took advantage of taxpayer funded incentives after September 11, 2011, which allowed them to renovate 140 West Street. Now, Verizon wants to cash in on this investment basically by renting out space for luxury condos and high-end retail use. This is disingenuous, and not what the Lower Manhattan community needs or wants."
Several Brooklyn business leaders, however, are hailing Verizon's move.
"By creating a regional call center in our borough, and at the same time developing its grand vision for its iconic building in lower Manhattan, Verizon has exhibited its commitment to New York City and these great centers of commerce and growth," said Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Carlo Scissura in a statement.