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The drone of generators fills the silence of lower Manhattan on a weekday afternoon. A newsstand is open at the corner of Wall and Water streets, its main customers now cleanup crews rather than bankers, lawyers and other financial district office workers.

Such is the scene downtown, where damage from Hurricane Sandy is keeping properties empty more than a week after the storm struck. There are 445 office and residential properties in the area that the city determined may be uninhabitable even while they may have no structural damage. Almost 33 percent of the 101 million square feet (9.4 million square meters) of lower Manhattan office space was out of operation as of Nov. 7, according to brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.

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