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Records show Charlotte missed out on over 1,000 high-paying AllianceBernstein jobs

AllianceBernstein, the New York investment firm, had considered Charlotte for its new headquarters, which would have added over 1,000 jobs over four years here that paid an average salary of $105,000 a year, according to emails obtained by the Observer.
AllianceBernstein, the New York investment firm, had considered Charlotte for its new headquarters, which would have added over 1,000 jobs over four years here that paid an average salary of $105,000 a year, according to emails obtained by the Observer. Observer Archive Photo

AllianceBernstein, the New York investment firm that considered Charlotte for its new headquarters, would have added over 1,000 jobs over four years here that paid an average salary of $105,000 a year, according to emails obtained by the Observer through a public records request.

The records show that the city and state had a tight turnaround time to submit its plan for the new office: AllianceBernstein put out its request for proposals on Nov. 6, 2017, and the proposals were due Nov. 14. The project required a 200,000-square-foot facility with room to expand, according to the records.

In a May 1 email, Nate Groover, a business recruitment manager for the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, cited "Excessive Land/Building Costs" as a reason the project's status was changed to "Closed Lost."

"One of the reasons was due to the existing strength of the financial services industry in Charlotte and their ability to be a newer, bigger player in Nashville," Groover said.

The project would have included a capital investment of $69.2 million from AllianceBernstein, Groover said in his email.

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AllianceBernstein would have added jobs that were either newly created or added from outside the state that paid an average of $105,000, not including bonuses and benefits, the records show. The firm would have added a number of executive functions, including chief financial officer and chief operating officer, as well as departments such as sales, accounting, recruiting, product development, marketing and legal.

Among the areas of Charlotte identified for the offices were University City, uptown, SouthPark and Ballantyne.

Records indicate that N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper and AllianceBernstein CEO Seth Bernstein discussed the project during a call on Jan. 31.

Charlotte, a financial services hub that's home to Bank of America's headquarters and Wells Fargo's largest employee base, was on AllianceBernstein's short list because its parent company, the insurer AXA, has been growing its footprint here.

Because parts of the records were redacted in compliance with state law when a project is lost, it's unclear how much North Carolina would have offered in incentives for the project. Public records from the city and county were not yet available as of Monday morning.

Ultimately, AllianceBernstein selected Nashville, Tenn., thanks in part to $17.5 million in incentives offered by the state, according to the Tennessean.

The firm reportedly also cited the lower state, city and property taxes in Nashville compared with the New York metro area as some of the reasons it is relocating its headquarters.



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