- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 11, 2001

Tenants are still leasing office space in New York's tallest buildings, including some of the businesses and agencies displaced by the destruction of the World Trade Center last month.
But developers in the future might not be so eager to build distinctive skyscrapers that stand out, architects said.
Roughly two-thirds of the space displaced tenants have leased is in Manhattan, according to a report released yesterday by New York brokerage Insignia/ESG Inc.
The U.S. Customs Service will lease 137,000 square feet at One Penn Plaza, a 55-story office tower near Penn Station and Madison Square Garden, Insignia said. The agency, which occupied 537,694 square feet in the World Trade Center complex, has deals pending for other space.
Another former trade center tenant, the Securities and Exchange Commission, will lease 140,000 square feet in the 57-floor Woolworth Building. A spokesman for the commission declined to discuss the lease.
So far, the market for space in skyscrapers and other tall buildings hasn't been affected by the trade center's destruction, according to Warren Wechsler, a senior vice president for the Real Estate Board of New York trade group.
"We haven't seen any immediate change. The prevailing mood in the industry seems to be watchful waiting," he said.
The amenities that tall buildings offer views, lots of sunlight, prestige are still attractive to tenants, said Stephen Berliner, Insignia's executive director. "We didn't think there would be a reluctance to take space in tall buildings after [the trade center's destruction], and there hasn't been. Everyone I've spoken to refuses to allow their lives to be changed by a group of terrorists," Mr. Berliner said.
The World Trade Center's destruction hasn't diminished interest in the city's other premier tall tower, the 102-story Empire State Building, according to Howard J. Rubenstein, the building's spokes-man.
Ninety-six percent of the building is occupied. Since the destruction of the trade center Sept. 11, the Empire State Building's managers have received about 50 inquiries from real-estate brokers interested in available space, about the same number of inquiries it usually receives every month, Mr. Rubenstein said.
The market for tall buildings is solid, but developers in the future could be reluctant to build skyscrapers that stand out, according to David Childs, design principal for New York architecture firm Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP.
Some developers fear distinctive buildings could become future targets for terrorists, he said.
"Eighty stories would be a very tall building, but it would nestle in with the other skyscrapers in a city like New York. It wouldn't stand out," said Mr. Childs, whose firm designed the 110-floor Sears Tower and the 100-floor John Hancock Center, both in Chicago.
Security remains a concern for some displaced trade center tenants.
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., which occupied 25 floors and was the trade center's largest tenant, has announced plans to sell its 32-story midtown Manhattan office tower to rival securities firm Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., according to real-estate research firm CoStar Group Inc.
Instead of having a single headquarters in midtown Manhattan, Morgan Stanley wants to spread its employees out in several buildings throughout New York City, CoStar said.

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