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The cities that businesses are eyeing

Atlanta is where most executives would like to relocate their offices or factories if they decided to move in the next year. But New York City is where most businesses plan to expand or acquire new office space next year. And Los Angeles leads the list of cities where manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution facilities will be acquired or re-sited.

These are the conclusions of a poll taken by Louis Harris & Associates for Cushman & Wakefield Inc., a New York-based commercial real estate brokerage. The survey, which was released this week, points out the ``dichotomy between places business leaders believe are most desirable and where, for practical purposes, they actually plan to locate operations.''

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Chief executives of some 400 companies and 201 senior-level corporate real estate executives at businesses with $100 million or more in revenues were the sample for this survey. These executives, the survey says, feel Atlanta's ``role as the business center of the Southeast may give it special magic that other cities on the list don't have.''

Other cities that ranked high on the desirability list (in descending order): Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Washington, New York, Dallas, St. Louis, Miami, and Houston. Cities that executives feel will experience improved business conditions in '87 (in descending order): Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Washington, New York, St. Louis, and Miami.

Because of the dramatic drop in oil prices, Texas has experienced an economic drought, especially in the commercial real estate industry where prices have plummeted. The Harris survey, however, concludes that ``the death of Texas has been exaggerated.''

Executives expect business in Houston and Dallas to brighten in '87. Both cities benefit from modest-cost and readily available labor pools, a favorable government attitude toward business, and numerous office and plant sites with a full range of services.

Essential factors in judging the desirability of one city over another in locating an office include proximity to markets, customers, or clients; cost and availability of labor; and the quality of life, such as housing, transportaiton, and recreation facilities.

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