Financial firms seek out large blocks of space in Manhattan

June 20, 2011 09:40AM

At least eight high-profile financial institutions are actively seeking large blocks of space in Manhattan, the Wall Street Journal reported, of at least 500,000 square feet each, according to sources. Firms looking include Bank of America, UBS AG and investment bank Jeffries Group.

As numerous finance firms near the end of their leases, they’re looking for equal amounts of space to what they currently occupy or only minor expansions amidst fears that the economy may remain sluggish.

“There is some light at the end of the tunnel that it’s going to be fine, but there’s no evidence that things are going to be robust,” Mark Weiss, a broker with Newmark Knight Frank, said of financial firms.

Bank of America is nearing a deal to renew around 500,000 square feet at 114 West 47th Street, and is negotiating to renew around 750,000 square feet at the World Financial Center, sources said. Morgan Stanley is in talks to expand by 1.2 million square feet at 1 New York Plaza, sources said, though a recent article in the Observer suggested they might be interested in 1 World Trade Center.

“There’s a big name added to the activity list every few weeks,” said Dennis Friedrich, president of U.S. operations for Brookfield Office Properties, which owns the World Financial Center and 1 New York Plaza. [WSJ]