SNL Moving into Old NGIC Building

SNL Financial is moving from their Downtown Mall headquarters to the old National Ground Intelligence Center, just a few blocks away. The City has worked for the past year to attempt to locate a tenant for the 100,000 sq. ft. building since NGIC moved out in the county and the federal government gave the building to the City. The building requires about $6.5M in renovations, which SNL will pay for, though it’s proposed that $2.5M of that be funded by a seven-year loan from Charlottesville to the company. The 30-year lease is worth $14.8M, plus property taxes. City Manager Gary O’Connell says that he’s not concerned about the prospect of finding tenants for the 50,000 sq. ft. building that SNL currently occupies. Jake Mooney has the story in today’s Progress, which is particularly worth reading because of the extensive details offered in the story.

7 thoughts on “SNL Moving into Old NGIC Building”

  1. A correction to Waldo, that is: SNL is fronting the money for the renovations, but the city’s paying it all back over the term of the lease (or at least over the first 20 years — I’m not sure). So it’s a bit of a stretch to say SNL will pay for them. SNL’s just laying the money out; the city’s paying in the long run. Some other local media may be reporting otherwise because of misleading info at the press conference celebration, but the Progress account is right. I hope.

    Oh, and the $2.5M loan is a whole ‘nother matter.



    Daily Progress staff writer

    Its ranks swelled by continuing expansion, Charlottesville-based SNL

    Securities is taking over the vacant former home of the National Ground

    Intelligence Center, leaving behind its company headquarters just blocks

    away on the city’s Downtown Mall.

    City officials announced Tuesday that they have agreed to a 30-year

    lease with SNL worth about $14.8 million, plus property taxes. The

    company has agreed to perform renovations to the 1960s-era building

    totaling $6.5 million — a sum that the city plans to repay over the

    course of the lease through rent credits.

    A $2.5 million city loan to the company through the Charlottesville

    Industrial Development Authority is on the agenda for Monday’s City

    Council meeting. The loan would have to be repaid in seven years.

    The NGIC building on Seventh Street Northeast was tax-exempt federal

    property from the time construction began on it some 50 years ago until

    last fall, when an act of Congress granted it to the city government

    free of charge.

    Since then, city staffers have been working frantically to find a new

    tenant to replace NGIC and its hundreds of employees, who moved to the

    hills of Albemarle County over the summer and sent a wave of anxiety

    through downtown businesses hungry for customers.

    The agreement with SNL means that the building will yield real estate

    tax revenue for the city for the first time. According to the terms of

    the lease, the company will pay no more than $25,000 per year, although

    more tax money could come from tenants that sublet space from SNL.

    At about 100,000 square feet, the former NGIC building is almost twice

    the size of SNL’s current building, the former site of a Miller & Rhoads

    department store at 321 E. Main St. The company also leases 10,000

    square feet of office space in the basement of the Market Street parking

    garage that it plans to give up as part of the move.

    SNL Chairman Reid Nagle said Tuesday that the firm, which has about 230

    of its 250 employees in Charlottesville, is growing so quickly that it

    would have had to consider moving away from downtown — possibly to

    Albemarle County — without the NGIC deal.

    “We expect to announce an acquisition in the next couple of weeks, so

    we’re going to continue to grow the firm, so having contiguous space is

    important to us,” Nagle said.

    SNL has expanded every year since its founding in 1987, company

    President Mike Chinn said. The firm, which collects and distributes

    financial news and data to clients that include Wall Street companies,

    banks and investment managers, moved to the city from Hoboken, N.J., in


    Despite the extensive repairs the lease requires SNL to perform on the

    NGIC building — including removal of asbestos tiles and brick window

    coverings — Nagle said the move won’t be so bad, compared with the work

    the company did on the 1956 department store building before moving

    there in 1998.

    “That place was more of a dump than this one was, and we transformed it

    on time and on budget,” he said.

    Renovations are expected to begin as soon as the final version of the

    lease is approved by city and company officials. The company hopes to

    move in about a year.

    Chinn said he has had no inquiries about the company’s building, and he

    said there are no plans to maintain operations there.

    City officials pronounced themselves unworried, though, about the

    prospect of an empty building on the mall after the firm leaves. City

    Manager Gary O’Connell said he knows of retailers interested in opening

    stores downtown that may be able to use large amounts of space.

    City and company officials who gathered at Tuesday’s news conference —

    O’Connell called it a “celebration” — cast the lease agreement as a good

    deal for both sides.

    For the city, the deal means earning tax and rent money, and filling a

    large, vacant building with potential customers for downtown businesses

    — all near the eastern end of the mall, a site of ongoing city

    redevelopment efforts.

    Moreover, SNL agreed in the lease to manage the building in exchange for

    rent credits, absolving the city of responsibility for future


    Finally, Chinn said SNL employees, most of whom park in the city’s Water

    Street parking garage, will park in the garage on Market Street at

    company expense. The decision means few of the company’s employees will

    use on-street parking, the dearth of which became a source of tension

    between employees and residents of nearby neighborhoods during the years

    the federal government occupied the building.

    The company, meanwhile, will be able to consolidate its local operations

    under one roof and to turn a profit during the early years of the lease

    by subletting parts of the building it doesn’t use.

    All that comes in a package that Robby Noll, chairman of the industrial

    development authority’s board, described as “not a fire sale price, but … a good

    deal for SNL.”

    The authority, a quasi-public body run by City Council appointees with

    the mission of fostering economic development through property

    transactions, will act as landlord under the lease and will transfer the

    rent money back to city government, Noll said.

    “In simple terms, it’s because the city’s not in the business to own

    property for the private sector,” he explained. “That’s not their gig.”

    The $14.8 million figure, he noted, is the projected net gain for the

    city — the amount SNL will pay after the various rent credits are

    deducted. The lease guarantees that the company will pay at least

    $240,000 per year, ensuring that SNL can’t cash in all the rent credits

    at once.

  2. I think its great that the city is willing to do what it takes to create incentives to keep big, growing businesses from leaving the city. Well done, and thank you SNL for staying committed to the city and its future.

    On another note, I wonder if these renovations will include a facelift of some sort. Its such an ugly building…

  3. Paragraph breaks? Spacing?!

    Whenever I read an online Progress story, such as:

    the html contains only
    between grafs, so it is a bear to read. I complained to the webmaster but never got a response. Yeah, it is a free service, but if they go to the trouble of posting it, why not at least make it readable?

  4. sorry, slip o’ the fingers (and no EDIT Posting feature that I see here…)

    should say…
    contains only

  5. Unless Media General comes down from on high with a new system, the Progress’ site will continue to suck. I’m very glad that they make their news available on-line, but why they have to go erasing it every day is a mystery to me. (Bitch bitch bitch, I know…) If they would just count *up* (6.html, 7.html, etc.), at least and others could link to their stories.

    If they would just invest a few hundred dollars in a program like Manila, problems like poor line breaking would be a thing of the past. Some day…

  6. On a related topic: does anyone know what WINA did to their archive?

    The search function is still there, but there is (apparently) no content on which to run the search.

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