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$2 Billion WTC Tower Lease Signed by Conde Nast

The agency that controls the new landmark tower rising at the World Trade Center approved a deal Wednesday that will bring in magazine publisher Conde Nast as a tenant, adding some glamour to a redevelopment project draped in patriotism.

A model of the future World Trade Center site.
Emmanuel Dunand | AFP | Getty Images
A model of the future World Trade Center site.

The board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey voted to approve a $1.9 billion, 25-year lease with the publisher for new offices at 1 World Trade Center, the skyscraper formerly known as the Freedom Tower.

Conde Nast, the publisher of Vogue, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, among other magazines, will occupy more than 1 million square feet of the building, on 21 floors.

It becomes the second corporate tenant to ink a deal for space in the tower, and its presence is almost sure to inspire more buzz than the first entity to sign on, a Chinese real estate investment firm.

"From travel to fashion to cultural critiques, the Conde Nast imprint lends authority to any subject. The same can be said with real estate," said the Port Authority's executive director, Christopher Ward. He called the company a "trend setter," and noted that its previous move to Times Square in 1999 helped solidify that once-seedy district as a proper corporate address.

In a statement released by the Port Authority, Conde Nast chairman S. I. Newhouse Jr. said the company has thrived in New York "in part due to the city's indefatigable energy, power and vitality."

"We are proud to be taking part in the revitalization of lower Manhattan." -Chairman, Conde Nast, S.I. Newhouse Jr.

"We are proud to be taking part in the revitalization of lower Manhattan," he said.

One World Trade is slated for completion in late 2013. At 1,776 feet, it will be the tallest building in the U.S., and the centerpiece of a redeveloped ground zero. About 1.8 million square feet of office space in the building are still available for rent. The deal calls for Conde Nast to take possession of its space in the building in 2014.

The steel frame of the tower now reaches 66 stories of a planned 104 designed to punctuate the rebuilt site of the World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The skyscraper is one of several envisioned at the site, along with a Sept. 11 memorial, transit hub and performing arts center.

Julie Menin, chairwoman of the community board that covers the World Trade Center site, said she expected the company's arrival to spark growth in restaurants, retail and amenities.

"This is great news for downtown and hopefully will be a harbinger of many other leases to come," she said.

The search for an anchor tenant from the private sector had lasted years, through complex and sometimes contentious dealings with multiple stakeholders.

"There were a lot of bumps along the way, but this will be an incredible testament to the citizens of our city, of how we have rebuilt," said William C. Rudin, chairman of the civic group Association for a Better New York.

Conde Nast's move from midtown Manhattan to lower Manhattan was a natural progression, Rudin said. Cost-conscious publishers who weathered an industry-wide downturn as advertising rates plummeted and viewers migrated online were eager to get better deals for their money, he said, and lower Manhattan frequently offers more space at a variety of price points.

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