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BNY Mellon Seeks New Space, May Sell Wall St. Tower

May 18 (Bloomberg) -- Bank of New York Mellon Corp. is considering moving from its Manhattan headquarters and selling 1 Wall Street, the building it now occupies, Jeep Bryant, a spokesman for the bank, said in an interview.

The company sent a request for proposals to New York City landlords seeking about 450,000 square feet of space, Bryant said today by telephone. A move may prompt the bank to sell its 52-story limestone tower at the corner of Wall Street and Broadway in lower Manhattan, he said.

“We are looking for a location that might be better equipped to meet our needs,” Bryant said. “We are looking for improved client meeting space and something that can accommodate state-of-the-art technology.”

The search comes as the pace of leasing office space in New York is rising. Tenants signed contracts for 6.75 million square feet of space through the first four months of this year, almost double the amount in the same period of 2009, broker CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. said May 11. Commercial property sales are also picking up, with dollar volume tripling in the first quarter, according to broker Cushman & Wakefield Inc.

Bank of New York Mellon, the world’s largest custody bank, retained Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., the world’s second-largest publicly traded commercial property broker, as an adviser, Bryant said.

Manhattan Rents

Manhattan landlords were seeking an average $48.13 a square foot for office space at the end of April, down 32 percent from September 2008 when Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. filed for bankruptcy, according to CB Richard Ellis, the largest commercial broker.

Available downtown office space may reach 16 percent of the area’s square footage by the end of the year as companies including American International Group Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. move, according to Sheldon Cohen, head of the downtown office for CB Richard Ellis. Cohen made the forecast during a media briefing in April. The office availability rate was 13 percent in April.

The possibility that the market is reaching bottom helped convince BNY Mellon to look for space, Bryant said. “Part of this exploration over the next few months is to see if that is indeed the case,” he said.

The bank expects to decide whether to lease new space and sell its headquarters by the end of the year, he said.

Completed in 1931 for the Irving Trust Co., 1 Wall St. was part of a boom in Art-Deco skyscraper construction that included the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, said Carol Willis, director of the Skyscraper Museum in lower Manhattan.

“They were part of a tremendous surge of construction,” she said. “The skyscrapers of that period used the style that today we call Art Deco, that in those days they called ‘modern,’ in order to express the new spirit and energy of the modern machine age.”

To contact the reporters on this story: David M. Levitt in New York at dlevitt@bloomberg.net; Charles Stein in Boston at cstein4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel in New York at kwetzel@bloomberg.net

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