NEW YORK CITY-Cushman & Wakefield president Bruce Mosler says his firm is working on behalf of “dozens” of clients to locate “several million” sf of space lost in the rubble of the World Trade Center.

In a press conference yesterday afternoon, Mosler stressed his belief that while client needs must and will be met, building owners are not about to take unfair advantage of prospective tenants who may have only narrowly escaped tragedy. “The average weighted cost of class A space is approximately $65 per sf,” Mosler says. “I don’t think you’ll see a drop. But you will not see price gouging by landlords. You will see people reach out to help one another.”

Mosler estimated “11 to 12 million sf were destroyed” in the World Trade Center attacks, not including collateral damage that may not be calculated for weeks or months. He added, “it would be erroneous to state how much” the eventual damage assessment will be.

As to where tenants will find space, Mosler said there is roughly 14 million sf of available space throughout the city in all classes. Approximately 9 million sf of that space is on the sublet market. Of course, clients’ needs vary greatly and those requiring large blocks of space will have the roughest time. Some, he says, will turn to sublets, either temporarily or on a long-term basis. Others may have been protecting pockets of space and will backfill.

While Mosler “can’t say off the top of my head” how many C&W clients are looking for sizeable chunks of space, he says that at least some of the deals he is looking for are going to be big. “Suffice it to say we’re looking for several million sf.”

Lower Manhattan, Mosler says, remains bowed but unbroken. “Downtown will rebound,” he says. “The next few weeks will be difficult but it will be a viable submarket.” Asked about the future of the planned $1-billion headquarters for the New York Stock Exchange, Mosler takes a fatalistic attitude. “As for the viability of the stock exchange, it’s too early to tell, but I believe that if it was going to go forward it will continue to go forward.”

Does he think companies will shy away from Manhattan or skyscraper offices in the future? “I absolutely do not. New Yorkers have tremendous resolve. When this type of dastardly attack happens, we show that resolve. New York is still the financial capital of the world and it will remain so.”

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