The New York Board of Trade is finally coming home. In an event that included speeches from New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Gov. George Pataki, the exchange Wednesday signed a lease that will return its operations to Lower Manhattan for the first time since its trading floor, back office, and data center were demolished in the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
The lease marks an unprecedented collaborative agreement with another commodities exchange, the New York Mercantile Exchange, which trades metals and energy futures and options contracts and is located just west of Ground Zero in Manhattan's World Financial Center building. The Board of Trade, which facilitates "soft" commodities futures and options trading such as coffee and orange juice, will begin sharing a 58,000-square-foot facility with the Mercantile Exchange and expects to open its new trading floor in September.
The exchange has embarked on a multistage plan to rebuild the Comex division's pits and booths, then build the Board of Trade's new 13-pit trading floor, both using the latest in floor and booth technologies. Helping the exchanges build together is a $23.3 million grant and sales-tax relief from the Empire State Development Corp. and the New York City Economic Development Corp. The move is expected to return more than 3,200 jobs to Lower Manhattan.
The Board of Trade has been far from idle since it moved to its backup facility in Queens after the terrorist attacks. Since then, the company's IT department has been developing innovative trading technologies to help its members better perform. The exchange said last week that it has finished deploying its electronic order-routing system. "The automation allows us to handle more business," says Patrick Gambaro, interim chief operating officer. The system has logged 19,000 orders placed and 7,000 orders filled since the Board of Trade began to deploy it 11 months ago. The projects are helping. While operating out of the backup facility in the last year, the Board of Trade has increased its volume 17%.