Some denizens of Wall Street offices now settle nearby

During the day, K. J. McIntyre works in the financial district. But instead of leaving the area at 5 p.m. as most people do, Miss McIntyre, who works for a brokerage house, stays put: She lives in the district.

A decade ago, very few people actually lived in the Wall Street area. Now an increasing number have decided to call the financial district home.

This influx of people have been attracted to the area not only because of its closeness to work, but also because some of the buildings hold historic or sentimental value. For example, Clare Garrity, a lawyer and urban consultant, has recently decided to move into the Coenties Slip Apartments, at 66 Pearl Street, because the area reminds her of ''colonial times.'' The Coenties Slip development, with its red brick facades and proximity to Fraunces Tavern, evokes a ''New England flavor,'' says Miss Garrity, who grew up in Massachusetts.

Furthermore, residents of the building can tell their friends and relatives that they live in a historic building (built in the 1830s) around which much of New York's early commercial history swirled. John Jay, the first chief justice of the United States, was born on the same site as 66 Pearl Street. Tenants included insurance brokers and suppliers of nautical instruments. (The building is named after a nearby street, Coenties Slip. The street's name is a diminutive of the names of a Dutch couple, Conraet and Antje Ten Eyck, who lived there when the area was filled with wharves and ship's slips.)

''I love this part of New York,'' says Miss Garrity, ''and I can't imagine living anywhere else.'' From her new apartment at Coenties Slip, she is only a 10-minute walk to her office on Nassau Street. According to Leigh Van Blarcom, the rental agent for the Coenties Slip Apartments, most of the tenants in the building are professionals, like Miss Garrity, who work in the area.

''We have brick walls, skylights, terraces, views of the Statue of Liberty, a history to the buildings, and all the conveniences of the 20th century,'' says Mrs. Van Blarcom, explaining why tenants are attracted to the building.

Individuals aren't the only ones taking advantage of the shift to live in the area. Many brokerage houses, banks, and corporations are renting apartments or buying cooperative apartments in the area. For instance, A. G. Becker Inc. holds leases on four apartments at 3 Hanover Square, in what used to be the old Cotton Exchange Building. Randy Harris, the brokerage house's chief counsel, who lives there three days a week, says he likes the access to more space than a hotel room has, and the use of the kitchenette. Also, the apartments are only a two-minute walk from Becker's offices.

Another Becker employee, Tom O' Donnell, lives at 176 Broadway, a former office building converted to a cooperative apartment. Mr. O'Donnell, who has a 13-minute walk to his office, says he likes the area most of the time. ''Sometimes I feel like it's an artificial existence,'' he admits, ''especially when I visit friends in the suburbs who have lawns and trees and things like that.'' Without the daily subway commute, however, he notes he arrives at the office with a smile on his face, while his colleagues are still grouchy from hassling with the subways.

The major drawback to living in the area is the lack of shopping and parking facilities. Couples have been known to take the PATH subway system to New Jersey to do their food shopping. Miss McIntyre, however, says she has found a diversity of food stores in Chinatown and Little Italy, two New York districts that are relatively close.

Furthermore, she says, she now can have her dry cleaning delivered to her at her job at Bache Halsey Stuart Shields, where she is a second vice-president for marketing-communications. Miss McIntyre says living ''downtown'' has yet to put a dent in her social life, since the subways are convenient and many of her friends work in the financial district.

Developers began thinking of the financial district as a potential residential area about two years ago. Joseph Pell Lombardi, an architect who bought and developed Liberty Tower, a cooperative building next to Chase Manhattan Plaza and the Federal Reserve Building, says he purchased the tall, skinny Gothic tower in 1978 when there was a recession in the New York office space market.

''It was an old-fashioned building, with brass nobs and frosted glass on the windows,'' he recalls. It was so old fashioned no one could envision using it for any kind of space. But he and two other architects bought the building for what he calls a distress price and have since sold 90 percent of the units.

''We bought a lemon and made it into lemonade,'' he says with a chuckle.

Buyers of the co-ops, he adds, have likewise done well, generally doubling or tripling their investments within the last two years. He says the building established a residential feeling in the area, which made other developers feel comfortable.

In the case of the Coenties Slip Apartments, the wrecking ball was about to make the area into a parking lot when the New York Landmarks Conservancy stepped in. Three developers who had been successful in Greenwich Village bought the buildings and began renovating them. Today studio apartments rent for $795 a month; one-bedroom apartments for $1,100; two bedrooms for $1,600 a month. About 25 percent of the apartments are rented and the building will be ready for occupancy next month.

Miss McIntyre's residence is the former home of the Excelsior Power Company, New York's first generating station, built in 1888. There, studios rent for $600 a month and two-bedroom apartments for $1,300. At 176 Broadway, a 1,341 -square-foot apartment/co-op is for sale at $140,000 per unit or for rent at $1, 900 a month. Only a few units remain unsold. At Liberty Tower, only 10 units are unsold.

Can a company defer its year-end dividend to give its shareholders a tax break?According to Harvey Coustan, a partner with Arthur Young & Company, a leading accounting firm, there could be a lot of problems if it tried. For example, he says, if the decision materially affected the individuals making it, such as corporate directors, the IRS might not look at it favorably. He also points out that for a publicly held company there are minority shareholders to worry about who might need the income at year-end, not the beginning of the year. And finally, Barry Newman, a partner at Touche Ross, another accounting firm, points out that a company might get hit with an ''excess earnings'' tax if it didn't distribute the dividend in its normal manner.Despite all these caveats , some companies have looked at the possibility of deferring the dividend, since shareholders have written in requesting such an action.

Stocks kept moving higher last week, propelled by some easing of tight money by the Federal Reserve Board. The board cut the discount rate to 12 percent on Thursday and the market was strong on Friday. For the week, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 6.75 points, closing at 892.69, its highest level in about three months. Takeover candidates were again actively traded. Mobil, Marathon, and US Steel were among the active stocks as investors waited to see the final outcome of the battle over Marathon. Cities Service, the subject of takeover rumors, was likewise active.

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