Talk about being a very big fish in a very small pond The mere possibility that Russell Investments might move from Tacoma, Wash., its home since 1936, reportedly sent local officials into a tizzy.
The firm has simply outgrown its space and possibly the city of 201,700 residents. Russell, which managed $231 billion as of Sept. 30, has about 1,100 employees in four downtown Tacoma offices and needs not one but two open trading floors of about 45,000 square feet each to operate most efficiently, according to reports in the Tacoma News Tribune. That would make each trading area just a little smaller than a football field.
Russells leases expire in 2013 and it is examining options, including expanding one of its downtown offices or building a high-rise in the city or on its office campus in the Puget Sound area, according to the News Tribune, which recently interviewed Chief Executive Officer Craig Ueland about the firms possible decampment. Kerstin Parkel, a Russell spokeswoman, said Mr. Ueland was unavailable for an interview because he is traveling abroad and that no one else at the firm was authorized to discuss office space possibilities.
Local officials and private organizations are rallying to keep Russell in Tacoma. In an effort known locally as Project Destiny a play on the citys motto, City of Destiny various downtown development and enhancement proposals, tax breaks and other incentives are being thrown into the civic ring to keep Russell, the local paper reported. Local citizens also are contributing their two cents to the discussion of Russells future on the papers website blogs.thenewstribune.com/online with most correspondents expressing the hope that Russell will stay in the city where it was founded.
Russell reportedly will make a decision about the headquarters location later this year.