- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 24, 2001

NEW YORK (AP) The Nasdaq Stock Market is considering moving its headquarters to midtown Manhattan, in yet another sign that companies are rethinking the wisdom of working in the financial district after the terrorist attacks.
The headquarters is just a small piece of the electronic market's operations, employing 127 persons, or 10 percent of its total work force. But a move from its location at 1 Liberty Plaza, next door to the now-destroyed World Trade Center, would make Nasdaq the second major company to leave the area after Sept. 11.
Earlier this month, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. said it would purchase a new 1 million-square-foot office from Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. near Times Square after Lehman workers were displaced from the headquarters at the World Financial Center. Lehman has said it is committed to returning to downtown Manhattan, though it is not clear when.
Nasdaq's move would be more permanent. Its chairman and chief executive, Hardwick Simmons, says the electronic market is actively looking for new space near its MarketSite office in Times Square, where most of the Nasdaq employees are located and the financial media broadcast live throughout the day.
Since the attacks, employees in Nasdaq's headquarters, which occupies more than 80,000 square feet of space in 1 Liberty Plaza, have relocated to the MarketSite offices in the Conde Nast Building at 4 Times Square.
"We're looking at our options," said Nasdaq spokesman Andy MacMillan, who expects a decision by mid-November. "Companies come up here, the press is up here covering the markets, so we noticed the convenience factor where our public face is."
Other factors include safety and logistics of traveling to and from the ravaged financial district. The reopening of 1 Liberty Plaza, which was expected Monday, was delayed so that fire and building officials could have adequate time to review the building's safety.
"Obviously, the safety and health of our employees is a very important consideration," Mr. MacMillan said.
Nasdaq subleases its two floors in 1 Liberty Plaza from its parent organization, the National Association of Securities Dealers, which holds a 20-year lease on the building signed in spring 2000.
NASD spokeswoman Nancy Condon said the group would be ready to discuss letting Nasdaq out of its lease once the electronic market had made a final decision. The NASD, which houses 300 workers of its own on three floors in 1 Liberty Plaza, said yesterday it remained committed to staying downtown.


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