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Lehman Bros. Sets Up Offices in Hotel

BLOOMBERG NEWS

Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc., driven from its quarters across the street from the World Trade Center, is taking over the Sheraton Manhattan Hotel.

The securities firm booked 650 rooms in the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. property at 52nd Street and 7th Avenue to give its investment bankers, led by Bradley Jack, a place to work. The firm won’t provide the new guests in the $199-a-night rooms keys to the minibar or access to pay-per-view movies.

Lehman Chief Executive Richard Fuld reserved the space to get back in business as quickly as possible after losing 1.1 million square feet of office space. Others in lower Manhattan are in the same fix.

Some Merrill Lynch & Co. bankers are working in their boss’ apartment. Salomon Smith Barney Inc. deal makers are at law firms such as Cravath Swaine & Moore.

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“Any space, however primitive, where they can call on their clients and also interact with each other, is key at this point,” said Richard Strauss, a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analyst who covers brokerage stocks. His office at 85 Broad St. was unscathed.

Mattresses lined the street outside the Sheraton. Capital Moving & Storage Co. vans carted them away in batches of 40 to give about 1,500 investment-banking and research employees room in their makeshift offices. The assault that felled the twin towers may force Lehman to vacate lower Manhattan for as long as a year.

Across the street, at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, a sister hotel, the entrance for the Executive Conference Center had four signs posted saying “For Lehman Bros. Employees Only.” Sheraton Manhattan reservation agents said the hotel was fully booked for at least two weeks.

SBC Communications Inc., the second-biggest U.S. local-phone company, has installed 1,000 extra telephone lines in the Sheraton Manhattan for Lehman employees, said spokesman Larry Solomon.

With Lehman as a guest, Starwood is faring better than many hotels. The W New York on Lexington, Plaza, St. Regis, Sofitel and Essex House all had rooms available.

A Starwood spokeswoman declined to comment. A Lehman spokesman declined to comment other than to say that the firm wants the entire staff together as soon as possible.

Its stock and bond traders moved to Jersey City, N.J., and the real estate group is working on getting more trading space from Internet broker Datek Online Holdings Corp. in Jersey City.

For Lehman’s Jack, the chief of investment banking, the temporary offices are an improvement over last week’s accommodations--a Greyhound bus seat. He traveled by bus the 3,000 miles back to New York from San Francisco, where he was stranded after the attack.

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