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Buffalo's office of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court will relocate in the new year to larger offices in Olympic Towers.

The General Services Administration, the federal government's space procurement arm, has approved the Bankruptcy Court's move to 23,500 square feet of space in Olympic Towers. The space formerly was occupied by Prudential Securities, which is moving to a new location in Olympic Towers.

The court's current 15,144 square feet of space in the Michael J. Dillon Courthouse will be transferred to U.S. District Court. The lease was signed earlier this month, according to GSA spokesperson Rene Miscione.

The court's expanding caseload prompted the upcoming relocation; through last week, more than 8,020 bankruptcy cases have been filed in the Buffalo office this year, a 33 percent increase from 6,021 in 1996.

All 30 Bankruptcy Court personnel, including Judges Michael J. Kaplan and Carl L. Bucki and their staffs, will move the two blocks from the Dillon courthouse at Franklin and Court streets to the Pearl Street complex.

GSA negotiated a five-year lease with a five-year option in which rent totaling $609,875 per year will be paid in years one through five, with $404,8785 paid in years five through 10.

While a lease was signed with the partnership that owns Olympic Towers, Bankruptcy Court's final location probably will be in a new federal courthouse, a project announced more than a year ago that would cost an estimated $84 million.

The Bankruptcy Court will join the Social Security Administration's Office of Hearings and Appeals and the Public Defender's Office in Olympic Towers. The two offices occupy about 36,000 square feet of space.

With the addition of Bankruptcy Court, the occupancy rate in the 145,000-square-foot Olympic Towers facility increases from its present 91 percent to nearly the 100 percent level.

The complex, which includes the original 10-story YMCA and an adjacent four-story low-rise building, in October was named Building of the Year by the Greater Buffalo Building Owners and Managers Association.

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