Bridgewater to relocate to Stamford, creating 1,000 new jobs

Stamford — Bridgewater Associates, a large hedge fund based in Westport, plans to build a 700,000-square-foot corporate headquarters here, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced Wednesday. He said the new facility, to be built with state help, is expected to create 1,000 high-level jobs in the next decade.

“Connecticut is strengthening its leadership position in the financial services sector,” Malloy said. “For a long time, our state failed to compete for the kinds of good-paying jobs with good benefits that will grow and sustain our economy. We are clearly charting a new course for Connecticut.”

The giant hedge fund manager plans to invest $750 million in the project and receive more than $100 million in state aid. That includes a $25 million forgivable loan for construction, job training and energy installation grants of up to $10 million combined, and up to $80 million in tax credits.

New Jersey and New York also fought for the new headquarters.

“The city is being recognized for what it is,” said Chris Bruhl, president and CEO of the Business Council of Fairfield County. “It has the talent pool and access to technology that enables global firms to compete here.”

The company’s main facility is currently in Westport, where about 1,225 employees work, all of whom will be retained in the new facility. It has now grown to encompass five buildings in and around the area, and “it can no longer fit our needs,” said Greg Jensen, co-CEO of Bridgewater. “Our culture is critical to us. We really want to be in one place.”

Bridgewater’s new headquarters will be built in Harbor Point, a relatively new neighborhood in the South End that has sprouted up in the past few years through huge investment by the developer Building and Land Technologies. The site, which will require some environmental cleanup, has been a point of contention between the city and the developer for some time.

The site is home to the Brewers Yacht Haven boatyard, and city residents have fought for several months to get BLT to provide a clear plan for use of the land. The city served BLT with a cease-and-desist order last month demanding a plan.

“We’re just able today to start our conversation with the city,” said BLT general counsel John Freeman. He added that the boatyard will be relocated to an area that will provide “a much more efficient boatyard opportunity.”

Malloy acknowledged the situation by saying, “there will be some controversy about this project…this has been a boatyard for a period of time.”

He said the decision ultimately lies with Stamford to approve the new headquarter location, though he added, “a fair amount of money’s been spent already on this project.”

Bruhl said he expects there to be some debate within the zoning board, but that the project “will get approved.”

“That’s like having Google start and grow in your town. It’s like having Facebook start and grow in your town.”