Originally created 04/23/98

Stock exchange may relocate



NEW YORK -- The capital of capitalism might be relocating.

The New York Stock Exchange, which has made its home on Wall Street in lower Manhattan since the early 19th century, is considering moving.

Could the most famous address in business become Battery Park City, a development along the Hudson River where the exchange is looking at vacant space?

"It wouldn't be the same unless they move the whole street over there," said Michael Castagliola, a manager at an investment house who has worked on Wall Street since the 1960s. The stock exchange "is an institution. It's like Yankee Stadium."

City and stock exchange officials stressed no decision had been made. The exchange could stay put in its increasingly cramped quarters at the intersection of Wall and Broad streets, expand in the neighborhood or move about a half-mile to Battery Park City.

The possible move from Wall Street, where the stock exchange began operating in a rented room in 1817, is the latest proposal in a long quest to find more room.

In the last several years, the average daily trading volume has more than doubled to 636 million shares, and the number of listed companies has climbed beyond 3,000, up from about 2,500 in 1994.

Brokers are demanding more room, and the squeeze has been made tighter by the booming market.