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NEW YORK CITY-Brookfield Properties Corp. executives yesterday assured jittery investors that while it expects its evacuated downtown buildings to be operational within eight weeks, tenants at One, Two and Four World Financial Center as well as One Liberty Plaza will not be allowed to slide on rents or skip out on leases. Meanwhile, the firm will accelerate construction schedules for ongoing office projects in response to increased demand for space following the World Trade Center bombings.

According to company chairman Gordon Arnell, deputy chair Bruce Flatt, president and CEO-elect Ric Clark and John Zuccotti, chairman Brookfield Financial Properties, tenants of two of the affected properties, comprising roughly half the total space, signed triple net bond leases, which stipulate that they must continue to pay rent regardless of damage to the building. The other two buildings’ tenants, they say, are prohibited from terminating their leases for the next 18 months.

With regard to insurance coverage on the properties, Clark says, “all costs from the fallout of the attack including the full costs of repairs” are covered. He also says acts of terrorism are covered under the policy but that if the government deems the attack an act of war, “I believe it is exclusionary.”

Clark disputes statements made over the weekend by Merrill Lynch following a tour of the Financial Center properties by company president and COO E. Stanley O’Neal. Merrill Lynch subsequently estimated that the firm would need up to three months to get its space at Four World Financial Center up and running and as long as a year to repair the damage at Two WFC, estimates that Clark called “conservative.” Sticking to his claim of an eight-week rebuild, Clark says, “We continue to believe that we can get people into the buildings in that time frame.”

Brookfield executives also say the company is moving up the occupancy dates for projects currently under construction that will bring three 3.5 sf of space onto the market. The buildings involved are 300 Madison Ave., a 1.2 million-sf office building at 42nd and Madison, and the 2.5 million-sf Farley Post Office building near Madison Square Garden, slated for redevelopment as the Amtrak portion of Pennsylvania Station.

300 Madison, A Skidmore, Owings & Merrill-designed 35-story tower will feature 27 floors of office space at 28,000 sf per floor and was originally scheduled for delivery in August 2003. The Farley building was originally scheduled for occupancy by June 2005. Brookfield offered no new delivery dates.

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