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Grapevine: Bank of New York Mellon exploring Jersey City sites

The Bank of New York Mellon is one of the latest companies to be weighing new spaces on both sides of the Hudson. The LeFraks are reportedly one of three Jersey City landlords trying to woo the longtime Wall Street institution, but who are the others?

One industry source said the riverfront Goldman Sachs building and 90 Hudson were potential landing spots if BNY Mellon opted for a New Jersey address.

Reports surfaced in December that the 229-year-old commercial bank would sell its longtime headquarters at 1 Wall Street, a 52-story, 1 million-square-foot tower, and move some of its workers to another space nearby. But BNY Mellon also is said to be seeking another 350,000 square feet elsewhere in Lower Manhattan or Jersey City.

The New York Times reported last week that the LeFrak Organization, with its vast footprint in Jersey City's Newport section, was one of the landlords competing for its business. As for the Goldman Sachs building, the investment bank since last year has sought to sublease some 300,000 square feet atop its landmark tower.

Republicans going after Christie, but just behind the scenes

There's this perception out there that even if Democrats don't succeed in bringing Gov. Chris Christie down, more extreme members of his own party might.

It's only politics, of course. Since Sandy hit, guys such as U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) all have seen their potential presidential candidacies impacted one way or the other by Christie's previously soaring popularity.

And no one's been shy about criticizing Christie in the past. All have at one point or another questioned Christie's conservative credentials, and Paul has particularly criticized the governor for not taking a tougher stance on Obamacare and NSA surveillance programs.

In some far-right conservative circles, that might be as good as gold.

So other than a few ominous remarks seen so far from Paul, shouldn't we be surprised that the majority of perceived Christie challengers have remained mum on the scandals currently facing Christie?

No, says one insider.

"I'm not surprised the challengers haven't gone after Chris Christie," the insider said.

But just because we don't see it, that doesn't mean it's not happening. There's a good chance other Republican operatives are going after Christie, the insider said.

"I would be really shocked if they're not pushing it behind the scenes," the insider said.

New incentives will depend on budget constraints

When state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) introduced a new set of incentives related to affordable housing last week as part of his Economic Opportunity Act of 2014 Part 1 package, there wasn't a whole lot of opposition to it.

Of course that was because Lesniak eliminated the more contested initiatives, such as an expansion of the state's tax credits for film and digital media productions he had introduced previously.

So should we expect it to go through right away?

Until Gov. Chris Christie unveils his budget next month, it's anyone's guess, says one insider. While Lesniak's bill may indeed garner bipartisan support, "more information" is needed from the executive branch before any determinations can be made, the insider said.

The insider said the questions going forward will center on what the priorities are and what we can afford to do.

Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Tom Bergeron at tomb@njbiz.com.

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