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NEW YORK CITY-In another promising sign for Lower Manhattan, financial services firm OppenheimerFunds Inc. returns to the Downtown area–moving 550 employees into 189,000 sf of sublease space at 2 World Financial Center. Sublease space in the site, handled by Jones Lang LaSalle, is listed for $45 per sf. Brookfield Properties is the managing agent. The deal was arranged through a sublease agreement with Merrill Lynch. Cushman and Wakefield’s Stuart Romanoff, executive vice president, Lawrence Tannenbaum, senior director, and Amy Fox, director, representedMassMutual, parent of OppenheimerFunds, in the lease negotiations. Ray Sanseverino from the law firm of Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner LLP represented the client.

The firm, which previously was in 2 World Trade Center and moved temporarily to Midtown, recently negotiated a 10-year sublease for the space. Cushman and Wakefield will look for a subtenant for the company’s 120,000 sf of newly constructed office space at 498 Seventh Ave.

“Since Sept. 11th, one of the top priorities for OppenheimerFunds has been to find first class space at a reasonable cost which will be conducive to our business needs, said John V. Murphy, chairman and CEO of OppenheimerFunds, during a ceremony marking the move. “Two World Financial Center not only provides us with tremendous space, it allows OppenheimerFunds to be an active participant in the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan.”

Following Sept. 11, 2001, OppenheimerFunds initially dispersed its staff to multiple locations in several states, and in December 2001, regrouped at 498 Seventh Ave. The company is the latest company to invest Downtown under the World Trade Center Job Creation and Retention Program, a state-city initiative designed to bolster the economic recovery of Lower Manhattan with new business investments and jobs. The financial services firm will receive a $4.03 million JCRP grant for moving its offices. and expects to be fully in place by the end of October.

“OppenheimerFunds’s decision to return to Lower Manhattan speaks volumes about Downtown’s continuing status as Financial Capital of the World,” Gov. George Pataki, who was among the dignitaries in attendance, said. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg added, “Today’s announcement, following closely the news that Cadwalader, one of our oldest and most prestigious law firms, is moving to One World Financial Center, clearly demonstrates the incredible momentum building in Lower Manhattan.”

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