JERSEY CITY-While early estimates had put the amount of New Jersey office space already taken by companies affected by the World Trade Center tragedy in the 2.5 – 3 million-sf range, the hard number so far seems more likely in the two million-sf area. Even that’s fuzzy, because a number of the rapid relocations don’t even have any ink dry yet, so space figures haven/t been released. And the space grab is far from over.

What’s known so far is that American Express has perhaps moved quickest. In addition to 175,000 sf the company took in Stamford, CT, it has taken 340,000 sf at Morris Corporate Center in Parsippany, NJ; another 250,000 sf (a former Lucent building), also in Parsippany; and a 200,000-sf former AT&T facility in Short Hills, NJ. Amex is also said to have taken a large block of space in Jersey City, although no details about its size have been released.

Other recent relocations, according to a report by Colliers ABR of New York include Deutsche Bank, moving to a backfill location in Piscataway, NJ (size not disclosed), in addition to relocations to Midtown Manhattan and to Baltimore. Also, Lehman Brothers has sublet the former Datek location at 70 Hudson Street in Jersey City (100,000 sf); Merrill Lynch has moved operations to Jersey City; Nomura Securities has taken space in Piscataway (no details); and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has leased a total of 200,000 sf at Gateway Center in downtown Newark. The Port Authority’s total occupancy at the World Trade Center was in the vicinity of 150,000 sf.

“There is obviously an enormous amount of leasing activity occurring right now,” according to Robert Sammons of Colliers ABR. Many of the large blocks of space that were available are spoken for or being eyed carefully. There were several blocks available in Jersey City that have been spoken for at this time. There is even a company marketing floating office space to be docked at the piers in Manhattan.

“There are also several development sites scattered throughout New Jersey,” Sammons concludes. “But it would take years to get these buildings up.”