Philip Morris to Move HQ from New York City To 677 Washington Blvd. in Downtown Stamford
John Jordan | November 3, 2021
STAMFORD, CT—Philip Morris International will be relocating late next year from Downtown New York City to Downtown Stamford, CT, specifically to the former UBS complex at 677 Washington Blvd.
Building owner George Comfort & Sons reported that Philip Morris International has signed a 12-year lease for 71,484 square feet, which encompasses the entire 11th and 12th floors of the office building. The company is relocating its headquarters from 120 Park Ave. in New York City and plans to take occupancy at 677 Washington Blvd. in late 2022.
Philip Morris announced in June its intent to relocate from New York City to Stamford, but did not reveal its preferred location, although there has been speculation of late that the company had selected 677 Washington Blvd.
The company is expected to shift 200 workers to its new U.S. headquarters and will house the Americas teams and members of other corporate functions. PMI’s Operations Center will remain in Lausanne, Switzerland, to continue to support the business across the globe. The company employs a workforce of more than 71,000 worldwide.
The move comes as the company is shifting its focus to become a smoke-free business. Jacek Olczak, CEO of PMI said back in June when it first announced the move to the Nutmeg State, “Connecticut offers a valuable mix of technological know-how, future-forward thinking, and an open-minded approach to problem-solving. We consider it an ideal location for our new U.S. head office, where we will be working to more quickly achieve our vision of a smoke-free future. We are excited about what the state has to offer our company, our employees, and their families—and we very much look forward to integrating into the community in a meaningful way.”
The Philip Morris lease was the largest of a number of recent deals at 677 Washington Blvd. that totaled approximately 120,000 square feet of space that has increased the property’s occupancy rate to 95%. Three years ago, the three-building complex was entirely vacant.
In other activity at the property, XL Global Services, Inc. has signed an 11-year lease for a 21,879-square-foot portion of the 10th floor. Specializing in property and casualty insurance services, the firm plans to move from 70 Seaview Ave. in Stamford in the third quarter of 2022. Growth equity investor General Atlantic, which opted for a portion of the eighth floor earlier this year in a relocation from Greenwich, CT, has expanded its planned presence to a total of 21,879 square feet. In addition, Sandbrook Capital LLC signed a 10-year lease for 4,995 square feet on the eighth floor where it will take occupancy in the first quarter of 2022.
“We’re pleased to welcome these tenants to 677 Washington Boulevard and to be bringing the complex closer to full occupancy,” said George Comfort & Sons President and CEO Peter S. Duncan. “This property has long been regarded as a commercial centerpiece of Downtown Stamford, and the recent successful leasing activity here proves that it is as appealing as ever to a range of firms across various industries.”
677 Washington Blvd. is a Class A complex located on more than 12 acres. It includes the 13-story Office Tower, the seven-story Pavilion, and a three-story retail and ancillary building.
Completed in 1998 to serve as the North American headquarters of UBS, the complex was gradually vacated over the course of a decade. George Comfort & Sons joined AVG Partners of Beverly Hills, CA in the property’s ownership in early 2018, taking on operating and leasing responsibilities, as well as developing and executing the plan to reposition and re-lease the buildings.
George Comfort & Son’s stated that the leasing activity, including the Philip Morris deal, represents a major step forward in cementing the property’s standing as the center of Downtown Stamford. As part of ownership’s ongoing repositioning program, upcoming plans for the site include the development of a 400-unit apartment building with an additional retail component, the company added.
Building ownership was represented in-house in all transactions by Duncan and Dana Pike. Representing Philip Morris International were Richard Bernstein and Steven Baker of Cushman &Wakefield; XL Global Services was represented by Trip Hoffman of Cushman & Wakefield; General Atlantic was represented by Rob Martin and Paul Kauffman of Jones Lang LaSalle; and Sandbrook Capital was represented by Adam Klimek and William Montague of Cushman & Wakefield.