Friday, November 9, 2012

Lower Manhattan quiet as sandy shuts one-third of offices

Oshrat Carmiel and David M. Levitt in Bloomerg News reported on Manhattan's devastated financial district: ....damage from Hurricane Sandy is keeping properties empty more than a week after the storm struck. There are 445 office and residential properties in the area that the city determined may be uninhabitable even while they may have no structural damage. Almost 33 percent of the 101 million square feet (9.4 million square meters) of lower Manhattan office space was out of operation as of Nov. 7, according to brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.

Work crews continue to clean-up the wreck left behind by Atlantic superstorm Sandy. The sound of generators, garbage truck compactors, shuffling brooms and utility technicians are prominent sights and sounds throughout lower Manhattan.  “We have water in basically every building downtown,” said Joseph Moinian, who owns and manages more than 4 million square feet of commercial and residential space in the area. “I was always taught that salt water kills germs,” Moinian said. “Now I find out that it kills equipment too.”

The flooding in lower Manhattan after the biggest Atlantic storm in history is displacing workers at companies including American International Group Inc. (AIG) and Morgan Stanley (MS) as landlords drain basements, remove debris and repair electrical equipment. In the aftermath, commercial property values and leasing demand may fall while insurance premiums could rise.

“Lower Manhattan was just starting to come back to a very solid footing,” said Howard Lutnick, chairman and chief executive officer of investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald LP. His firm is a tenant at 199 Water St., where a flooded basement will take six to eight weeks to clean up, he said. “This is going to have a material effect on values downtown,” said Lutnick, who also runs BGC Partners Inc., owner of property brokerage Newmark Grubb Knight Frank....

The South Ferry Subway station after Sandy, shot by Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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