A former World Trade Center tenant has signed a major lease at the World Financial Center, across the street from Ground Zero. Thacher Proffitt & Wood, which rented space in the South Tower of the WTC, signed a 15-year lease for 137,000 sq. ft. at 2 World Financial Center. The lease is a 10-year sublet from Merrill Lynch, plus a five-year lease from WFC owner Brookfield Financial Properties. The law firm hopes to occupy the space by next August, once a build-out of the space is completed.

Thacher Proffitt & Wood is the first WTC tenant to lease a significant amount of space near Ground Zero. The firm has had offices in lower Manhattan for over 150 years.

"I am extremely pleased that Thacher, Proffitt & Wood has reaffirmed its commitment to Lower Manhattan and is moving its office back downtown," says New York Gov. George Pataki. "Their return is yet another indication that the revitalization of Lower Manhattan is well under way."

According to Jack Williams, managing partner at the law firm, employees are looking forward to returning to the roots of its business. "Thacher Proffitt is finally going home," he says. The asking rent for the space is $55 per sq. ft., though the lease was reportedly signed for much less. Tishman Real Estate Services represented the law firm. Collier’s ABR represented Merrill Lynch.