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FIRMS HALTS GROUND ZERO HQ

Goldman Sachs Group said it has halted plans to build a $2 billion, 40-story headquarters at ground zero. Officials said the company was troubled by the location of a proposed tunnel to be built beneath the site.

The tunnel would move four express traffic lanes through a bypass under West Street, with the opening near the proposed headquarters at the northwest corner of Vesey and West streets.

Goldman Sachs objected to the plan, saying that the tunnel would send traffic too close to the building's entrance, making it hazardous for pedestrians as well as clients and visitors.

Company officials said it was possible that they would build on the site, but they will also expand their options to build a headquarters in another area.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg admitted Tuesday the prospect of Goldman Sachs abandoning ground zero "wouldn't be good for downtown Manhattan," but he said he understood the company's concerns. "We're working with them and continue to work with them," he said. "They will stay in Manhattan and I hope that will be in lower Manhattan at site 26 but we'll have to see," he said.

"They have concerns like everyone else does and it's just part of the normal process of them trying to do what's right for them."