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Vornado exec sees financial services firms returning to NYC from Connecticut

Vornado Realty Trust's executives touted Aetna Inc.'s move to its 61 Ninth Ave. property in New York City's Meatpacking District as more evidence of a return of financial services firms to the city after having moved to Connecticut in the late '80s and early '90s.

Aetna's move follows commodities firm Glencore's relocation from Stamford, Conn., to Vornado's 330 Madison Ave. property in the first quarter, New York Division President David Greenbaum said on the company's second-quarter earnings call.

Nearly half of Vornado's office portfolio is in the most desirable locations in Manhattan, Chairman and CEO Steven Roth added.

"Today, the hottest submarkets in town run from Hudson Yards to Penn Plaza and extend south through Chelsea and Meatpacking," Roth said. "It is important to note that anticipating these trends, we have structured our portfolio so that almost half of our square footage is in this hottest district.

On the retail front, in response to a question from an analyst about press reports on the increasing retail vacancies on Madison and Fifth avenues, Roth said that while street-retail business in New York is soft, it is cyclical, as opposed to the softness of the retail business in general, which is secular.

Roth also fielded a question about future plans for 666 Fifth Ave., a property Vornado co-owns with the family of President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

"We own all the retail in the base of the building," he said. "We have been internally debating what the business plan is for the asset and that today continues, and so we don't have an update on that right now."