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Wall Street companies offered grants to stay in lower Manhattan

(NEW YORK) - About two dozen letters offering multimillion-dollar federal grants have been sent to some businesses on Wall Street in an effort to keep them in lower Manhattan, a city official said.

The letters, sent by the city and state last week, are the first of several offers for aid to 150 companies employing more than 200 people each, Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff said at a business luncheon Wednesday.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office has not disclosed the names of the companies or released the amounts to be disbursed from the $500 million in federal aid, but candidates include Merrill Lynch, American Express, Goldman Sachs and the Bank of New York, according to The New York Times in Thursday's editions.

The financial offers come as displaced firms and tens of thousands of employees have relocated outside the district and the state after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Officials also are concerned about protecting the city's historic financial district.

The criteria for the grants includes the number of employees and the likelihood that a company would relocate. Doctoroff, who is deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding, said some grants also may be offered to companies that never intended to move outside the city.

``It probably is appropriate for people who recommit to downtown to get some money,'' he said.

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