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Five months after the Sept. 11 attacks, business flight continues in lower Manhattan

Feb 15, 2002

NEW YORK - Five months after the Sept. 11 attack, more than one in four jobs in lower Manhattan has been lost, and half of the businesses whose buildings were destroyed or damaged do not plan to return to the neighborhood, surveys have found.

The surveys solidify the growing sense that the world's financial capital will not be same even as the buildings are repaired or rebuilt.

About 100,000 of the 370,000 jobs that were once in downtown Manhattan have been lost entirely or have been moved to midtown, out of town or out of state, according to the Alliance for Downtown New York.

M. Myers Mermel, chief executive of TenantWise.com, an online commercial real estate firm, said 49 percent of the tenants in destroyed or damaged office buildings say they are leaving downtown for good. Those tenants once occupied 17 million square feet.

Many companies that are not leaving outright are decentralizing for fear of suffering a devastating loss in another terrorist attack.

"The trend once upon a time was to have the corporate campus, to have everyone in one place," said Valerie Lewis, a spokeswoman for the Alliance for Downtown, a business improvement organization. "9-11 has flipped that around. Now dispersal is in."

Citywide, 94,000 jobs have been lost permanently since the Sept. 11 attack, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said this week as he delivered a delivered a budget address that called for spending cuts and heavy borrowing.

 

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