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Business Observer Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021 1 month ago

Prominent Wall Street firm moving HQ from Manhattan to downtown St. Petersburg

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Cathie Wood-led ARK Investment Management is moving its headquarters to 200 Central in St. Petersburg; will help build innovation center
by: Louis Llovio Commercial Real Estate Editor

ST. PETERSBURG — A New York based investment firm with one of the most recognizable names in finance at its helm is moving its corporate headquarters to downtown St. Petersburg and has committed to help build a new innovation center in the city to help boost entrepreneurship.

ARK Investment Management will move its headquarters out of its E. 28th St. headquarters in Manhattan and into its new digs at 200 Central Nov. 1., according to a statement. 200 Central is a 28-story office tower at 200 Central Ave.

The company did not say how many employees were making the move, but the space will be conducive to scaling up. In a statement announcing the move, the company says, “while a substantial number of employees have chosen to relocate and work in the office, ARK’s hybrid back-to-work model will harness technology to accommodate working remotely.”

A company spokeswoman did not respond to an email asking how many employees decided to relocate.

On its website, ARK describes itself as the kind of firm that invests in innovation that causes disruptions and says that “while traditional investors seek safety in benchmarks and passive strategies, ARK believes this behavior is counterproductive.”

Cathie Wood, the company’s founder and CEO, says in the statement that “Ark is not a traditional Wall Street asset management firm and we are breaking the mold further by relocating to St. Petersburg, a city investing in technology science, and innovation.”

Some in the financial press have dubbed Wood one of the most successful investors, with Yahoo!Finance calling her “a superstar in the finance world.” According to Barron's, in 2020 five of the firm's seven exchange traded funds returned an average of 141%.

In addition to the new headquarters, ARK has committed to build an new incubator with the Tampa Bay Innovation Center that will be built and owned by Pinellas County.

The ARK Innovation Center, as it will be called, will sit on 2.5 acres at 4th Street and 11th Avenue South. Construction on the 45,000-square foot building will begin early next year and is scheduled to be completed by July 2023. By 2026, officials say the center is expected to provide Pinellas with $28 million in economic impact by creating 1,265 jobs, according to the statement.

The City of St. Petersburg donated the land. There are three vacant lots of varying sizes at that intersection. The one owned by the county has a 2021 market value of $445,808 and assessed value of $429,090.

ARK, according to the statement, will close its New York office Oct. 31.

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