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WHITE PLAINS-Metromedia Fiber Network Inc., which filed for bankruptcy on Monday, says it plans to keep its corporate headquarters in White Plains. While that may be the case, real estate sources say the firm had at least half of its office space here available on the sublease market the day before its Chapter 11 filing.

The company, which is undertaking an aggressive reorganization plan that includes ridding itself of some properties and the reduction of some employees, says it plans to keep its operations in downtown White Plains. However, real estate sources say that the firm up until its bankruptcy filing had approximately 50,000 sf of its headquarters space at 360 Hamilton Ave., on the sublease market.

In March 2000, Metromedia Fiber signed a long-term lease for 80,000 sf of space at 360 Hamilton Ave., (Reckson Metro Center). The company relocated from 30,000 sf of space at the Gateway building at One North Lexington Ave. in White Plains. Since its move to 360 Hamilton Ave., the firm has taken another floor or approximately 32,000 sf to increase its presence at the property to approximately 110,000-sf.

Metromedia Fiber Network and most of its domestic subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 20, five days after it announced it did not pay approximately $32 million in interest payments on its $650 million senior note debt.

In conjunction with its bankruptcy filing, the company reported that it had reached an agreement with its senior secured lenders that will enable Metromedia Fiber to continue to fund is operations while it implements a reorganization plan. That plan includes a host of cost reduction initiatives, including “the disposal of non-productive properties (including idle data centers or non-essential offices,” and an unspecified reduction of its workforce.

Kara Carbone, a spokesperson for Metromedia Fiber, said it was too early to release what properties the company plans to dispose of or how many employees may be let go. However, in reference to the company’s headquarters operations, she stressed that the company intends to stay in White Plains. The company employs 220 workers at its headquarters property and approximately 1,000 worldwide.

John Gerdelman, president and chief executive officer of Metromedia Fiber comments on the firm’s bankruptcy filing by saying, “We believe that our core metro-fiber and data center businesses are some of the best assets in the telecommunications industry. However, in growing the business, we, along with others in the industry, out-paced the demand and, as a result are overbuilt.”

Metromedia Fiber has retained Impala Partners to assist the company in its restructuring effort and UBS Warburg to offer advice on strategic alternatives. The company’s recently formed subsidiary Metromedia Fiber Network Government Services, Inc., was not one of the subsidiaries including in the bankruptcy filing and will continue to operate outside of the Chapter 11 proceeding, company officials note.

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