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News
Tenants scramble to cope
September 11, 2001: 5:36 p.m. ET

World Trade Centers were home of many leading brokers, agencies
By Staff Writer Chris Isidore
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - The World Trade Center, destroyed Tuesday by a terrorist air attack, housed 430 businesses with 50,000 workers. Those businesses including some of the biggest names among U.S. and world financial institutions, scrambled late in the day to estimate the damage and help survivors.

One of the largest tenants in terms of employees based there, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, had about 4,000 employees on seven floors in Tower One, including the health insurer's top executives.

Sean Doolan, spokesman for the company in Albany, said none of its top executives was hurt in the blast or collapse of the two towers, and so far the company is not aware of any employees who were killed.

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Dust and dark blankets downtown Manhattan after the collapse of the two World Trade Center towers Tuesday.
"Based purely on word of mouth, we believe all were evacuated," he said. "But I couldn't emphasize how speculative it is."

Empire is asking employees based in the center to call 866-761-8265 to check in with the company. He said the company has other operations in New York state, in Staten Island, Melville on Long Island, Middletown and Albany upstate. He believes that most employees may be relocated to Melville temporarily but there isn't room there for all.

All claims record for customers are in other locations, but many of the company's online capabilities were run out of the World Trade Center offices.

  graphic EMERGENCY CALL CENTERS:  
   
  • Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield -- 1-866-761-8265
  • Morgan Stanley -- 1-888-883-4391
  • Aon Corp 1-866-256-4154
  • American Airlines 1-800-245-0999
  • United Airlines 1-800-932-8555
  • Pentagon 1-877-663-6772
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    The towers included offices for many prominent investment banks including Credit Suisse First Boston, Morgan Stanley (MWD: unchanged at $48.90, Research, Estimates), Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and Cantor Fitzgerald.

    Victoria Harmon, spokeswoman for CSFB, said the offices there had about 800 employees, and that she was not aware yet of how many might have been hurt or killed in the blast.

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        Cantor Fitzgerald -- 1-866-326-3188
       
    The World Trade Center offices were not the company's main offices and handled mainly back-office functions. Many employees from the center made it up to CSFB offices in Midtown Manhattan after the blast, she said.

    "We're trying to figure out where they're going tomorrow," she said. "I don't know the answer to that yet."

    Morgan Stanley also has its main offices elsewhere in Manhattan, but it was the largest tenants in the center in terms of floor space, with about 3,500 employees based there spread over 22 floors in Tower 2 and three floors at Five World Trade Center, a smaller building in the complex.

    Morgan Stanley CEO Philip Purcell issued a statement saying that the firm had limited information about the status of its employees, and set up a call center to collect information from employees. The number for them to call is 1-888-883-4391.

    Keefe Bruyette & Woods, an investment bank serving primarily the banking industry, and Cantor Fitzgerald, a leading fixed-income trading firm, both had their main offices in the towers. Executives with those firms could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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    Chicago-based Aon Corp. (AOC: Research, Estimates), the world's largest insurance brokerage and consulting company, had about 1,100 employees on 7 floors in the center. A company spokesman said the company was still calling as many employees as it could to try to learn their status, and had also set up a call-in number 866-256-4154, for employees to call.

    Germany's Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank AG, and market data firm Thomson Financial, a unit of Thomson Corp., also have offices in the complex.

    "We have two to three hundred people who work in that building and we have not been able to account for them due to communication failure," a senior Thomson executive in London told Reuters.

    At another firm with offices at the World Trade Center, Alger Capital Management Vice Chairman James Connelly said that the company's chairman, Fred Alger, is alive and in Long Island, but that he hadn't heard from a majority of the people who worked at company's Trade Center office. Retail broker Charles Schwab also had offices in the center.

    Key government agencies also affected



    Many government agencies of importance to business had New York offices in the building, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a bi-state agency that runs both the region's airports as well as its shipping ports.

    The Port Authority actually built and owned the World Trade Center.

    The Port Authority leased the 427,000 square feet of retail in the World Trade Center for 99 years to Westfield America Inc. (WEA: Research, Estimates), a real estate investment trust. Executives with Los Angeles-based Westfield could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

    New York real estate investment firm Silverstein Properties won the 99-year lease for the office space portion of the center at the same time Westfield won the retail lease. Officials with Silverstein also were not available for comment Tuesday. graphic


    Reuters contributed to this report





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