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NEW YORK CITY-Westchester’s hopes of snaring a second New York Stock Exchange trading floor dimmed considerably today when NYSE chairman and CEO Richard Grasso told 150 members of the Real Estate Lenders Association that the new site more than likely will be located within the city limits.

Grasso’s comments fly in the face of a draft white paper released by the Federal Reserve Board, the Securities and Exchange Commission that many fear would force securities firms out of the city. While he refused to discuss the report, Grasso made it clear that he is in serious negotiations with the city to locate the second city within New York City if at all possible.

“I’m not going to contribute to the debate about the white paper,” Grasso said. “I’m simply going to say that we are working with the Mayor and with the Governor, and they understand that the New York Stock Exchange is the anchor of financial services.

“We’re working with the City of New York,” Grasso continued. “We’re looking at alternative sites in the five boroughs. We haven’t discounted that. It is a big challenge logistically; it is a big challenge financially, both to us and to our customers. We have been candid that we need to look outside the city. That would be dilutive of the city’s strategic and competitive position and we certainly are not going to do that unless it’s a last of last resorts. We are not going to do anything that in any way upsets the recovery of this city.”

Grasso’s comments were made at an RELA luncheon meeting held at the Princeton Club, 15 W. 43rd St.

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