Brookfield Office Properties Inc. has executed a lease renewal with Bank of America/Merrill Lynch for 767,000 sq. ft. of office space at the World Financial Center in Lower Manhattan. It is the second-largest office lease signed in Lower Manhattan this year following Conde Nast's commitment to occupy one million sq. ft. at One World Trade Center. The lease accounts for more than one-third of the 1.9 million sq. ft. of office space in Four World Financial Center.

Brookfield has executed approximately 1.4 million sq. ft. of leasing overall at the four World Financial Center buildings in 2011.

The company also said in June that it would spend $250 million to upgrade and expand the retail portion of the complex. Construction started in October and is scheduled to conclude in 2013.

"Renewing Bank of America/Merrill Lynch for a sizable amount of space at the World Financial Center was an important objective within our New York City portfolio," Mitch Rudin, president and CEO of Brookfield Office Properties' U.S. Commercial Operations division, said in a statement. "Leasing activity in Lower Manhattan thus far in 2011 has eclipsed that of all of 2010, fueled by existing financial services tenants like BofA/Merrill, as well as historical Midtown users looking to reposition their firms by leveraging Downtown's dynamic changes in retail, transit and parkland."

Bank of America/Merrill Lynch is retaining space in both Four World Financial Center and Two World Financial Center.

Brookfield has agreed to purchase BofA/Merrill's 49 percent interest in Four World Financial Center and now owns 100 percent of the 1.9-million-sq.-ft. property. The purchase price of the 49 percent stake was $264 million.