JERSEY CITY-”Based on the inquiries we’ve received, New Jersey has become a prime focus for companies affected by the World Trade Center tragedy,” Roger Steinhardt, director of commercial leasing for the Kushner Cos., Florham Park, NJ, tells “These firms’ strategic corporate planning is certain to impact the face of the real estate industry for the short term, and perhaps the long term as well.”

Indeed, many of those inquiries to Kushner and other brokerage firms have already turned into a spate of deals. According to some estimates, up to three millions sf of direct and sublease space may have been claimed just this past weekend. And because this waterfront city has a relatively limited amount of space to offer to begin with, displaced firms have gone farther afield to Newark, Morris County and other destinations.

For the most part, the parties involved aren’t talking about their deals yet, because they’re still working out the details. But according to various reports, Lehman Brothers is already up and running with a new trading floor at the 100,000-sf Datek building in Jersey City; American Express has shifted its World Financial Center operations to Jersey City; and Amex has reportedly cut sublet deals for the 340,000-sf former Aventis building at Morris Corporate Center, Parsippany, and for a 250,000-sf former Lucent facility in Parsippany. The company is said to be talking seriously to AT&T about taking over nearly 200,000 sf in Short Hills. And Deutsche Bank has moved employees to backup facilities in Piscataway, NJ.

Finally, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has grabbed close to 200,000 sf at downtown Newark’s Gateway Center. The P.A.’s headquarters were in the WTC, and the agency suffered severe staff losses, including executive director Neil Levin.

Other spaces said by observers to be the focus of pending deals are Charles Schwab’s 400,000 sf at Mack-Cali’s Harborside Financial Center, Jersey City, leased by the discount broker earlier this year but quickly put on the sublet market unoccupied when the firm began cutting jobs. It’s the largest single block of space available in Jersey City, and a deal is expected to be announced shortly for about two-thirds of it.

Also, drugmaker Hoffman-La Roche is said to be close to a deal to sublet its 80,000 sf in Clifton; and AT&T is said to be in active discussions for a total of nearly a million sf at various locations. And Hartz Mountain Industries, which has limited office space to offer, is said to have numerous inquiries for 750,000 sf of industrial space that could be built out as offices.

“Our initial belief is that some companies may be more reluctant to lease space in high-profile locations, and may consider rethinking the amount of space they occupy in any one location,” says Stadtmauer, explaining the early trends in the wake of the WTC disaster. “For the longer term, major corporate users may choose multiple locations in order to minimize the potential impact of a single devastating event.”

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