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As Finance Offices Empty, Developers Rethink Ground Zero

CHARLES V. BAGLI The New York Times
As Finance Offices Empty, Developers Rethink Ground Zero - USA - New York - Real Estate - Manhattan - Business - NYC - Commercial Property

Merrill Lynch, an investment bank now owned by Bank of America, has started moving the first of thousands of employees to Midtown from Lower Manhattan, a departure that will ultimately leave floor after floor of empty office space at the World Financial Center.

Goldman Sachs will leave vacant 1.3 million square feet in four aging buildings in the financial district after it begins moving to its new headquarters in Battery Park City late this year. American International Group, the troubled insurance giant, is also a shrinking presence downtown, real estate brokers say, while Depository Trust is considering a move to New Jersey.

And just as companies are leaving downtown, more commercial space is being built there. Under current plans for the redevelopment of ground zero, the developer Larry A. Silverstein will add three massive skyscrapers with a total of 7.57 million square feet by 2013.

It adds up to hundreds of acres of vacant space in Lower Manhattan at a time of recession and restructuring of the financial industry.

For that reason, Mr. Silverstein and the owner of the 16-acre ground zero site, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, are once again locked in negotiations over how and when the office towers get built.


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