Nasdaq skyscraper to survive, owner says
By JACQUIE MCNISH AND KAREN HOWLETT
Thursday, September 13, 2001
The Canadian-owned Wall Street office tower that houses the Nasdaq stock exchange is expected to survive the fallout from the two collapsed World Trade Center towers despite earlier fears that it might collapse.
One Liberty Plaza, a 54-storey skyscraper, is pockmarked with broken windows and fallen debris from the nearby towers, but its owner, Toronto-based Brookfield Properties Corp., said it remains structurally sound.
"The building is sound. Structural engineers have been examining the building all day. It is as solid as ever," said Jack Cockwell, chief executive officer of Brascan Corp., which controls Brookfield. Brookfield's other major Wall Street property, the World Financial Center, also passed a preliminary structural investigation.
The steel-and-glass tower faces the east corner of the devastated World Trade Center. In addition to the Nasdaq exchange, it houses some of the financial world's most prominent brokerage and legal firms. Its flagship tenant is Wall Street power house Goldman Sachs. Other tenants include Scotia Capital Inc., investment arm of the Bank of Nova Scotia, and law firm Clearly Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.
A spokesman for Brascan said late last night that the biggest damage suffered at One Liberty was the shattering of floors and windows near the bottom of the building. He said the company doesn't believe any casualties were suffered in the building and it hopes that the tower can be occupied "very quickly," but he could not give a precise estimate. Brookfield said it is fully insured against the damage.
Nasdaq moved to the 29-year-old building only six months ago and Wall Street experts estimate the computerized stock exchange could reopen within days at a backup location.
A company spokesman said New York Governor George Pataki gave Bruce Flatt, Brookfield's chief executive officer, and a team of structural engineers special permission to visit the site and the group spent more than seven hours there.
"Bruce has walked through every floor of the building. He has seen it himself and we are confident it is secure," Mr. Cockwell said.