Lower Manhattan Suffers from Buyout

Downtown boosters scored a huge point last summer when JPMorgan Chase committed to building a new investment banking headquarters at Ground Zero.

For years, lower Manhattan had been losing financial companies to Midtown, first because of the better transportation that Grand Central Terminal provided. Then, because of the shock of September 11.

JPMorgan's announcement that it would take over Bear Stearns' 6-year-old tower in Midtown again calls into question downtown's role in the banking industry.

While JPMorgan is holding onto its option to build at Ground Zero, it signed no lease and faces no penalty if it walks away.

Meanwhile, neither developer Larry Silverstein nor the Port Authority have any other private tenants lined up to occupy the 4 World Trade Center towers under construction.

For WNYC, I'm Matthew Schuerman.