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Waitstaff unimpressed as Goldman moves in at World Financial Center

Ten years after 9/11 and the discounted leases that were issued to keep retailers from leaving the World Financial Center are up. Brookfield Properties is now stepping in with a $250 million plan to revamp the mall and office building that sits opposite the World Trade Center site. The property developer is adding a glass pavilion to host a 600-seat dining space, and is also planning an indoor food market.

It is hoped the project will encourage financial firms to return to the area after relocating to midtown. The space used to be dominated by Merrill Lynch but after the Bank of America takeover many employees moved uptown. Goldman Sachs is the new kid on the block, having moved in just north of the centre. The investment bank plans to develop the area surrounding its new headquarters to host three Danny Meyer restaurants and 5,000 square feet of retail outlets.

But one waiter in a restaurant in the World Financial Center is nostalgic. "Merrill Lynch people tipped much higher than Goldman Sachs people do," he says. "Plus Goldman are always asking for discounts on group bookings."

Perhaps not surprisingly therefore, Goldman is one of the underwriters on the forthcoming IPO of internet company Groupon, whose USP is organizing group discounts online.

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