CHICAGO-Businesses will start to rethink their office needs in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, real estate leasing and financing experts say, if they haven’t already. Central Business District properties, especially high-visibility properties, may be shunned in favor of low-profile suburban locales, they say.

Tenants may decide “Central Business District office space is not safe,” Mercury Partners LLC managing director John R. Nikolich tells, and may opt for properties in the suburbs.

High vacancy rates and a glut of sublease space already make suburban properties financially attractive. But after Sept. 11, safety of employees is top priority.

“We expect businesses to start shying away from high-visibility trophy properties and look for more discreet locations, as they redefine how to take care of their most important assets, the people who work for them,” says Equis Corp. President Michael Silver.

Silver, whose firm specialized in office tenant representation, says companies should form disaster recovery teams in each of its offices. The team should include experts in technology, personnel and law as well as real estate. In the event of a crisis, they should work together on re-establishing operations in each of their specialties, he suggests.

“The object is to be up and running as soon as possible,” Silver says.

Mercury Partners, based in suburban Skokie and Greenwich, CT, provides investment banking, financial advisory services and equity research.

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