Thursday, September 28, 2006


DOWNTOWN IS LOOKING UP By STEVE CUOZZO - New York Post Online Edition: Seven

REBOUND: Office vacancies in lower Manhattan are moving toward pre-9/11 numbers.

Steve Cuozzo remarks on the remarkable comeback that downtown Manhattan has made in the five years since 9/11.

FOR the first time since the end of 2001, more than 90 percent of downtown's office space is leased, according to Cushman & Wakefield - a milestone that's been reached earlier than the most optimistic forecasts predicted.

Confounding skeptics who claim companies don't want to be anywhere near Ground Zero, the vacancy rate below Canal Street has fallen to a remarkably healthy 9.5 percent, according to Cushman research honcho Jonathan Mazur.

If that figure holds up when Cushman releases its definitive third-quarter report on Oct. 4, it would represent the first time downtown availability has fallen below 10 percent since December 2001.

Downtown's vacancies are higher than Midtown's 6.9 percent and Midtown South's 6.0 percent.

But it has less space available on a percentage basis than all but a handful of other U.S. business districts. By comparison, vacancies are 16.3 percent in Los Angeles, 16.4 percent in Chicago and 19.6 percent in Houston.

The 9.5 figure "is our projected number for the next report," said Cushman's New York office head Joseph Harbert. "We're thinking it's pretty good, and we don't expect a lot of surprises between now and Friday."

The data comes on the heels of a definitive agreement between the Port Authority and Larry Silverstein for rebuilding the World Trade Center site.

Downtown Alliance President Eric Deutsch says the news "marks a significant turning point from recovery to full-blown economic growth" in the area.

Encouraging news, indeed.


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