Goldman Sachs Tries to Make Its HQ Disappear

You know how when you were a kid, and you maybe did something you shouldn't have done? But you had to go back to school the next day, so you really hoped and wished and prayed that somehow, magically, you would be rendered invisible to your fellow classmates when you walked into the room? That you wouldn't be noticed? That you could just get through the day without calling attention to yourself?

Now, suppose you were the new Manhattan headquarters for Goldman Sachs: the same Goldman Sachs that is in the crosshairs of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Manhattan federal prosecutors, and just about every investigative reporter trying to write a book about how the planet was plunged into a two-year economic convulsion by Goldman's, shall we say, "complex" financial dealings. (The firm allegedly bet against its own clients in order to rake in more money than anyone could reasonably dream of.)

As you might imagine, if you were that building, the Goldman Sachs building, you might want to be invisible. So how do you go about being an invisible 42-story skyscraper?

As the New Yorker magazine tells it, apparently it's easier than you might think.

"At 200 West Street, as the building is known, the name of the firm appears nowhere on the exterior, or in the lobby, or even on the uniforms of the security personnel or the badges given to visitors," writes the magazine.

The first employees actually started working back in November at the new $2.1 billion building -- which according to the Wall Street Journal features such amenities as "a gym with overachiever fitness classes like 'Awesome Abs.' " But it wasn't til recently that anyone noticed that the building doesn't appear to have any name on its outside or inside!

A few months back, the U.S. architecture critic for Bloomberg, James S. Russell, wrote this of it: "As I contemplated this edifice at 200 West Street, a block from Ground Zero, some numbers came to mind: The $1.65 billion in tax-exempt bonds that helped build the tower and saved the firm $100 million. The $115 million of tax breaks Goldman wrung from city and state officials desperate to show progress at the World Trade Center site...."

Gee. With all that money being tossed around, you'd think Goldman Sachs would at least want its freaking name on the building!

Maybe they can write it on huge, white cards in invisible ink.

Charles Feldman is a journalist, media consultant and co-author of the book "No Time To Think -- The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle." He has written about real estate-related issues for several years.

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