Wall Street Firms May Be Knocked Out for Weeks
November 1, 2012
In any kind of “normal” flood, water would never reach 80 Pine St., a 39-story tower two blocks inland from the lower Manhattan waterfront, landlord William Rudin said.
Last night, his Rudin Management Co. was pumping out the basement, and he was grateful his building manager and engineer weren’t seriously hurt when water poured in as they were shutting down steam lines and checking equipment.
“They were in a very precarious position on Monday night,” Rudin said in a telephone interview. “They’re lucky they’re alive. Quick thinking by a couple of their associates saved their lives. So we’re very thankful.”
Now owners such as Rudin are dealing with the aftermath of the Atlantic storm Sandy, which triggered flooding on Oct. 29 that was anything but normal in lower Manhattan and may have put some buildings that are home to Wall Street firms out of commission for weeks. Landlords are draining basements and determining what it will take to get vital systems for electricity and steam back in service. Among the companies facing possible delays returning to their offices are Morgan Stanley and American International Group Inc.
The tower at 80 Pine is one of two of Rudin’s buildings that flooded, he said. The other is 110 Wall St. Tenants at 80 Pine include law firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, and Tullett Prebon Americas Corp., a unit of the London-based inter-broker dealer, according to data from CoStar Group Inc., a Washington- based firm that tracks commercial-property leasing.
Tenants at 110 Wall include First Investors Management Co., which offers mutual funds and other financial products, and M.R. Beal & Co., an investment bank.
“Depending on the systems affected, we’re talking weeks, not days,” said Jim Rosenbluth, managing director for crisis management at Cushman & Wakefield Inc., which manages about 15 million square feet (1.4 million square meters) of properties in downtown Manhattan. “My assessment is those buildings can’t be used, because you have to have all the basic building services up and running to make the building habitable.”
Buildings along or near Water Street, which runs from Battery Park on the lower end of the island past Wall Street to Fulton Street, bore the brunt of the record 14-foot (4.3-meter) surge that inundated lower Manhattan in Monday’s storm, Rosenbluth said. Many large financial firms have offices in that area.