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Bank of America Said to Seek 1 Million Square Feet in New York

Aug. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Bank of America Corp., the biggest U.S. lender by assets, is seeking about 1 million square feet of office space in New York City and may consider 1 World Trade Center, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The bank put out requests to landlords in lower and midtown Manhattan, said two people, who declined to be identified because the discussions are private. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, whose 1 World Trade Center will replace the towers destroyed in the 2001 terror attack, was asked for a proposal, the people said.

Bank of America’s request adds to signs that the project is overcoming slack demand for office space and concern that the site might become a target for future attacks. Conde Nast Publications Inc. agreed this month to take more than a third of the 2.6 million-square-foot tower, while federal and state agencies have committed to about 1.1 million square feet.

“We will continue to have a presence in both Downtown and Midtown, but the current footprint in each may change depending on business needs and market opportunities,” Bank of America spokeswoman Kelli Cishek said in a statement. The bank regularly reviews space needs “while providing productive and safe work environments for our associates,” she said.

The New York Post reported on the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank’s search earlier today. Stephen Sigmund, a Port Authority spokesman, declined to comment.

World Financial Center

The bank will also consider space in the neighboring World Financial Center complex that it inherited in 2009, when the company bought Merrill Lynch & Co., the people said. The 4.6 million square feet the bank leases remains attractive, the people said, because rents downtown are cheaper and Bank of America has a 49 percent ownership interest in the 2-million-square-foot 4 World Financial Center.

Bank of America already occupies a new building at 1 Bryant Park in Midtown with more than 2 million square feet. The bank wants the efficiencies and state of the art technologies available in new buildings, the people said.

The Merrill lease expires in 2013, the same year that the bank says it wants to be moved into its new space, the people said.

In June, Bank of America hired real estate brokers Cushman & Wakefield Inc. and Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. to review its New York space needs. Cushman was assigned Midtown, and Jones Lang downtown, spokesman T.J. Crawford said at that time.

Bank of America also has offices at 114 West 47th St., the former US Trust Building in Midtown, and 100 West 33rd St., an office and retail building owned by Vornado Realty Trust, Crawford said.

To contact the reporters on this story: David M. Levitt in New York at dlevitt@bloomberg.net David Mildenberg in Charlotte at dmildenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel in New York at kwetzel@bloomberg.net; Alec D.B. McCabe in New York at amccabe@bloomberg.net

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