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NEW YORK CITY-Brookfield Financial Properties, owner of One Liberty Plaza and One Financial Center, announced yesterday that it has accelerated re-occupancy plans for the two Downtown properties, which were evacuated following the World Trade Center attacks.

Under the revised schedule, One Liberty Plaza will be ready for business October 22 and One World Financial Center will re-open its doors November 19. According to Katherine Vyse, Brooklyn Properties senior vice president of investor relations and communications, all tenants are expected to return. “As far as we know, everybody is coming back. We have very long-term leases in our New York portfolio,” Vyse tells GlobeSt.com.

Vyse says she anticipates Lehman Brothers, which leases 200,000 sf in One World Financial Center, will return to its Downtown home along with the remaining displaced tenants. The securities giant announced Monday that it will purchase the one million-sf building Morgan Stanley has been constructing near Times Square. “They’ll be returning with everybody else,” Vyse says. “They have a 20-year lease that was signed in January. ” Lehman Brothers did not return calls for comment.

One World Financial Center is the southernmost of the complex’s four buildings and is located just west of the World Trade Center site. Besides Lehman Brothers, the 40-story, 1.6 million-sf tower’s tenant list includes CIBC World Markets Corp., Dow Jones and Fidelity. The 54-story, 2.2 million-sf One Liberty Plaza abuts the WTC site on the east.

Brookfield chairman John Zuccotti held a press conference September 17 to reassure investors that the two Downtown properties are structurally sound and scheduled to be operational within eight weeks. In yesterday’s announcement, he thanked “the city, state and other officials” for getting the buildings ready for occupancy in short order. Repairs completed or under way at the structures include restoration of utilities, safety systems and HVAC; replacement of most, if not all damaged windows by opening; cleaning of all floors and ongoing fine cleaning of tenant space. The announcement also says, “significant progress has been made” on enhancing interim transportation systems while permanent access to the Downtown area is restored.

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