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WHITE PLAINS-A chief official with Morgan Stanley reveals that the firm plans to begin construction soon to transform the former Chevron/Texaco building into the headquarters for its Individual Investor Group as well as a business continuity location. George Drake, managing director of global services for Morgan Stanley, notes that the firm also plans to build a “large trading floor” at the 725,000-sf facility. Drake was the guest speaker at the Westchester County Board of Realtors’ Commercial Investment Division meeting yesterday at the Board’s offices in White Plains.

Drake says that the start of construction at the 2000 Westchester Ave. site is imminent and that the firm intends to undertake a massive renovation of the facility. He notes that in addition to the trading floor, the building will serve as the corporate headquarters of its Individual Investment Management Group, which is currently housed in temporary offices on Third Ave. in New York City.

“We plan to build a very large trading floor in Westchester,” Drake says. While he did not divulge a definitive size, Drake noted that the trading floor would entail one floor plus a quadrant of another floor at the property. That would put the size of the trading space at approximately 120,000 sf. Morgan Stanley currently maintains a trading floor at its corporate headquarters at 1585 Broadway.

Drake says that the office component of Morgan Stanley’s operations in Harrison will be designed in a kiosk format. In addition, the firm plans to build a two-level parking garage (one above and one below ground), a fitness center and a cafeteria. In addition, the firm intends to offer its Harrison employees some daycare-center services, however, those may be offered off-site.

In about a year, the first phase of the move-in will begin. Initially, Morgan Stanley projects more than 1,400 employees will occupy the building, including 750 Individual Investor Group workers and 700 institutional securities traders. Drake gave no definitive time frame on the completion of construction.

The 2000 Westchester Ave. property is also the home of Atlas Air, which currently leases approximately 120,000 sf for its corporate headquarters and has an option for an additional 50,000 feet. The firm employs 800 workers at the complex.

Earlier this year, Morgan Stanley acquired the 107-acre site from Chevron/Texaco for $42 million. The firm plans to invest a total of $227 million at the property, which includes acquisition and construction costs as well as the purchase of equipment and other expenses. The Westchester County Industrial Development Agency has already granted the financial services firm an incentive in the form of $8.4 million in sale tax savings.

Drake says that Morgan Stanley had considered other locations in the New York metro area its search for a new facility, which was prompted in part by the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. However, the Chevron/Texaco site was always its first choice. The company was devastated by the terrorist attack of Sept. 11. The firm had employed a total of 3,700 workers at the WTC complex, 2,700 on 22 floors at the South Tower of the World Trade Center and 1,000 workers at 5 World Trade Center. Both buildings were destroyed in the attack that took the lives of seven Morgan Stanley employees.

In addition to the Individual Investor Group headquarters and trading floor operations, the Harrison property will also serve as a home for redundant or back-up functions for the firm.

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