Bridgewater Associates LP helped fill local restaurants and market in addition to being as of 2011.
“Stamford's gain is Westport's loss. Bridgewater Associates will surely be missed,” Westport Board of Finance Chair Avi Kaner said of the company that employs 1,200 people in Westport. “It has become an integral part of the Westport fabric, both financially and socially.”
Kaner said he hopes the long-term move will allow new, high-quality tenants to be found to occupy the vacancies. The Board of Finance Chair said he will support the First Selectman's plans in attracting new companies to Westport.
“These companies can ultimately provide a similar vibrancy of employee activity in Westport,” he said.
Kaner believes ‘property valuation and corresponding tax revenues’ will hold steady for years to come prior to the move.
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Board of Finance Vice Chair Helen Garten agreed that the town could potentially see a decline in tax dollars.
“The firm pays personal property tax on its office equipment, so we could see a decline in those receipts once Bridgewater moves the bulk of its equipment away from Westport,” Garten said.
Garten noted that if the spaces Bridgewater vacates get rented to other commercial firms, those new tenants would pay personal property tax on their equipment, such as computers and other electronics. The impact may not necessarily be large, Garten said.
“With respect to real property taxes, it is the owner of the property, not the renter, who is responsible for the taxes and that will continue,” Garten said, adding that Bridgewater owns one of their offices and rents the other.
“Luckily, Westport has a diversified and vibrant commercial tax base and we are not dependent on a single business for the bulk of our revenues,” she said.