September 28, 2001
The New York real estate market has bounced back from a slump in demand
as companies displaced by the collapse of the World Trade Center rush to
grab available office space to restart their businesses.
Since the Sept. 11 attack about 7 million square feet of space has been
leased, compared with 9.4 million in the first eight months of the year,
property brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield reported. Landlords are getting
90 percent of asking rents, up from as little as 60 percent, said Myers
Mermel, chief executive of TenantWise, an online property broker.
The leasing has brought relief to a market where vacancy rates doubled to
6.4 percent at the end of the second quarter from a year earlier, and
exceeded 12 percent in some areas as Internet and other computer-related
companies cut jobs while U.S. economic growth fell to its slowest pace in
"The power has switched back to landlords," Mermel said. Brokers
expect the pace of leasing activity to taper off as many of the more than
650 tenants displaced by the attack complete temporary or permanent
arrangements to relocate.
The collapse of the Trade Center towers, located at Manhattan's southern
tip, wiped out 13.4 million square feet of space and damaged 15.7 million
square feet. That's more than the central business districts of Miami or
In one of the latest deals, the Securities and Exchange Commission, which
had its regional headquarters in the destroyed 7 World Trade Center, agreed
Wednesday to lease 140,000 square feet in the landmark Woolworth Building in
Of the leases signed, 64 percent have been on space in Manhattan, with the
rest in New Jersey, New York's Westchester County and Connecticut's
Fairfield County, according to Cushman & Wakefield. About half the leases
have been for terms less than five years, O'Keefe said.
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