Citi Making Way for Amazon's New York HQ2 by Moving Workers

(Bloomberg) -- Citigroup is getting out of Amazon’s way.

The bank is moving about 1,100 employees out of the One Court Square office building in New York’s Long Island City neighborhood as Amazon.com Inc. makes plans to occupy space in the tower as part of one of its two new headquarters.

Citigroup Inc. occupies 30 stories of the building’s 42 office floors, all of which it leases. Amazon wants to take 23 stories, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. To make room, Citigroup will move employees to its headquarters in Tribeca, in lower Manhattan, or other nearby offices, the New York-based lender said Tuesday in a statement.

“Given what it would mean to New York and Long Island City to have Amazon establish a significant presence here, we want to do our part to make this possible,” Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat said in the statement.

Amazon announced its formal plans Tuesday to split its second headquarters between Long Island City, in New York’s Queens borough, and Arlington, Virginia, ending months of speculation. The tech giant also will create more than 5,000 jobs in Nashville, Tennessee, at a new operations center.

Making Space

Amazon would like to occupy 15 floors of One Court Square by the second quarter of next year, and will occupy eight additional floors by early 2020 as the e-commerce giant hires more New York-based employees, said the person with knowledge of the plans, who asked not to be identified because they aren’t public.

Citigroup has been consolidating employees at its headquarters, at 388 Greenwich St., since it began redoing that building in 2015, one of the largest private-sector renovations in New York City’s history. When the work is complete, the tower will house 12,000 employees, up from 9,000.

For now, Citigroup will keep about 1,900 employees in the Long Island City building, which houses employees from the company’s consumer banking, financial technology, risk, internal audit and finance groups. Citigroup has occupied most of One Court Square since the tower opened in 1990. As the lender moved more employees to its headquarters, it has subleased out some of its space in the building, which is owned by New York-based real estate investment firm Savanna.

Amazon entered into a letter of intent to lease about 1 million square feet (93,000 square meters) at the building, Savanna said in a statement Tuesday, calling One Court Square “a critical component” of Amazon’s Long Island City HQ2 plans.

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