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BY ALINE REYNOLDS | It’s official: publishing giant Condé Nast will be moving to the World Trade Center.
The company’s chairman, Si Newhouse Jr., signed a 25-year, $2 billion lease with its future landlord, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, for one million square feet of office space at 1 W.T.C. last week.
Condé Nast’s more than 3,000 employees will occupy one-third of the skyscraper’s office space starting in 2015, according to Port Authority’s executive director, Chris Ward, who held a press conference on the tower’s 34th floor on Wed., May 25, to announce the news.
“We built a new reality at the World Trade Center, and this transaction will be the exclamation point on that turnaround,” said Ward.
Finalizing the lease, Ward added, “is a game changer and will be truly transformative for Downtown.”
“It’s sure to be an exciting journey,” Condé Nast’s Chief Executive Officer Chuck Townsend said in an internal email he sent to his employees last week. ‘Although our actual move date is years away, this commitment reaffirms our long-standing position as New York City trailblazers and assigns Condé Nast a very significant role in the revitalization of Lower Manhattan.’
“Even just a few years ago, most would have considered today’s lease-signing highly improbable,” said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “But, by making Lower Manhattan more livable, more exciting and more dynamic, we’ve made it a perfect home for a broad range of the city’s biggest and most prestigious businesses.”
Condé Nast’s move Downtown, Bloomberg said, will undoubtedly attract other prestigious businesses to the neighborhood.
“Their decision to occupy a third of 1 [W.T.C.] represents a tremendous vote of confidence in the area,” said Bloomberg. “They’ve blazed a trail, others will follow, and there’s no question that their move Downtown is going to be an incredible shot in the arm for Lower Manhattan’s revival.”
The lease signing is symbolic of Lower Manhattan’s comeback, according to New York State Senator Daniel Squadron.
“Let the message go forth from the 34th floor of 1 W.T.C. to around the world,” said Squadron, “that Lower Manhattan is back, it’s here to stay and it’s the place to be.”
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer recognized the role community members have played in the neighborhood’s revival as well.
“The neighbors decided rather than to leave after that fateful tragedy [on Sept. 11, 2001,] they stayed, they built, they prodded, they got out there and believed in Lower Manhattan. I want to give them a big round of applause,” said Stringer.
District One Councilmember Margaret Chin welcomed Newhouse, thanked him for his “smart and far-sighted” decision to relocate shop to Lower Manhattan.
“We look forward to welcoming more business and workers in Lower Manhattan because we have the best schools, we have the best restaurants and we have beautiful housing too,” said Chin.
Condé Naste is the second corporate tenant to sign up for space in 1 W.T.C., following China Center New York, a real estate business service provider currently situated at 7 W.T.C.
The Condé Nast deal is “the first of many such terrific announcements,” according to developer Larry Silverstein.
“It’s great news. We’re thrilled,” said Silverstein. “What happens so often is, when new buildings are created, there are always a group of Class-A firms that will move up into these new buildings, opening space in the older buildings. It’s a feed-up, if you will.”
Silverstein said there are leads for potential tenants in his W.T.C. developments — Towers 2, 3, and 4 — but wouldn’t disclose them.