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Downtown Roundup: Merrill House Hunting, Stairway in Peril

Three quick hits from the world below Canal Street:

1) Via Lois Weiss in the Post: Merrill Lynch, which currently occupies more than 2 million square feet in the World Financial Center towers, is "mulling its options" for where to go after 2013, and the answer could be into specially designed space within the new World Trade Center complex. Or the answer could be: "constructing its own tower, remaining in place and retrofitting, or moving to Midtown, a boro, Jersey or Westchester." Any other options they missed? [NYP]

2) Via Lisa Chamberlain in the Times: Downtown is booming, on the commercial lease front, thanks in part to "an influx of smaller nonprofit organizations, design and creative industries, media companies and law firms," exemplified by the old AT&T building at 32 Sixth Ave., which is "now almost totally leased." Choice quote from lawyer Ian J. Gazes, gazing north at Midtown: "Out this window, I have a great view of where we don't want to be." [NYT]

3) Via David Dunlap: As if ground zero needed any more angst, the "survivors' stairway" is topping the latest list by the National Trust for Historic Preservation of endangered historical places. The WTC remnant near Vesey Street sits in the footprint of architect Norman Foster's latest assignment, and no one's sure if he's going to build around it. [NYT]

[Photo of black limos lined up on Pearl Street outside Goldman Sachs via Curbed Flickr photo pool user Downtown Pearl; more meta-blinged-out Goldman-towncar fun at Dealbreaker]