Aon Officially Opens Lower NYC Offices

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By Caroline McDonald

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NU Online News Service, June 26, 4:11 p.m. EDT, New YorkCity?The Aon Corporation, which saw 176 of its employeeskilled in the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attack thatdestroyed its facility there, today reopened offices in LowerManhattan on Water Street.

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The names of the slain Aon employees, engraved on a black marblewall panel placed at the 12th floor offices, served as abackdrop for Aon and city officials as they celebrated the eventwith the unveiling of a commemorative Waterford crystal replica ofthe World Trade Center towers.

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Former Mayor Rudolph Guiliani commended Aon for having the"strength of character" to return to Lower Manhattan. The newlocation is near the East River about a dozen blocks away from theTrade Center site that overlooked the Hudson River.

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"It's an emotional experience to see Aon back in LowerManhattan," Mr. Guiliani said. "It's hard to believe people can gothrough an experience like this and then want to come back."

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He continued, "That gives you a sense of the character of Aonand the kind of people who work here, and it gives you a sense ofthe strength we have in our private sector."

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Mr. Guiliani said that after the attack he commented he wantedthe city to come back "even better than it was," and that the cityhas done that. He also commented on the compassion Aon has shown tothe families of employees who were lost.

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Patrick G. Ryan, Aon chairman and chief executive officer of thebrokerage firm, told National Underwriter that "New Yorkis our single biggest office in the U.S." and the flagship officefor its global business.

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"It's a huge statement of commitment that Aon has made to NewYork," he said. "Obviously we could have moved out, people did, butwe felt that this being our flagship office, it ought to be in NewYork."

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He said Aon has split locations between it's office at 55 E.52nd and Water Street. He noted that the company hasgrown since Sept. 11. The Lower Manhattan location is the brokeringoffice that handles the Northeast, while the Midtown office is bothbrokering and consulting.

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"We've attracted very high quality people," he said. "We had toreplace, obviously, the people we lost, and additionally we havegrown so we've added people."

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He said Aon worked closely with the city in its recommitment toNew York. "We never considered leaving New York," he remarked.

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Previously, about half of Aon's New York employees displacedfrom the World Trade Center had been temporarily working at 685Third Ave. in Midtown and the Regus Business Center at 245 ParkAve., according to the company. Others were located throughout thetri-state area.

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Aon reached an agreement in August 2002 with Resnick Seaport,LLC to lease 165,000 square feet of space at 199 Water St. Aonoccupies floors 8-12 in the 35-story building, which looks out atNew York Harbor and the South St. Seaport Museum.

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