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NEW YORK CITY-MetLife Inc. has leased 410,000 sf at Equity Office’s 1095 Avenue of the Americas bringing the property to 60% occupancy. The company will occupy 12 floors in the building and move employees from its Long Island City office into the space by the end of 2008.

“We are extremely pleased and excited about MetLife moving to 1095 Avenue of the Americas, which will be a premier class A office tower,” says C. Robert Henrikson, president and CEO of MetLife, in a statement. “MetLife is a worldwide provider of financial solutions in today’s global marketplace, and relocating to 1095 Avenue of the Americas will allow us room for future growth and expansion.”

MetLife’s IT department will remain in Long Island City while the rest of the employees make the transition to the new space.

“Our Long Island City site will continue to serve as an important MetLife location, housing a state-of-the-art IT center for our company,” Henrikson says. “As we have since we first moved to LIC in 2001, we remain committed to this increasingly important central business district and we will continue to work with city officials to build on the significant progress already made in Long Island City’s transformation.”

The rental rate for the deal was not released. According to CB Richard Ellis’ Q3 Report the average asking rate in Midtown is $61 per sf. But industry experts pegged rates at 1095 Avenue of the Americas at $85 to $95 per sf back in September when Dechert LLP leased 234,238 sf, as reported by GlobeSt.com.

1095 Avenue of the Americas is currently in the midst of a major renovation project. The building is getting a new facade, elevator cabs, 23rd floor sky lobby, renovated public spaces and retail space. The renovations are scheduled to be completed by the middle of 2008.

“The company’s reputation and brand will reinforce the building as the preeminent corporate business address in Midtown,” says Robert Winter, Equity Office’s executive vice president of Development. There is about 400,000 sf of space still available in the building.

CBRE is the exclusive leasing agent for the property and represented Equity Office in negotiations. MetLife was represented by Jones Lang LaSalle. JLL is also in the process of scouting out spaces for Merrill Lynch & Co. to locate. The financial company’s lease expires in 2013 and as a result the company is looking at its options, as reported by GlobeSt.com.

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