Conde Nast Publications Completes $2 Billion Deal to Move to Trade Center

Conde Nast Publications Inc., the publisher of Vogue and Golf Digest magazines, signed a lease to move its headquarters to downtown Manhattan’s 1 World Trade Center, slated to be the western hemisphere’s tallest building.

The publisher will rent about 1 million square feet (92,900 square meters) in a deal valued at about $2 billion over 25 years, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, developer of the building. The 1,776-foot skyscraper, now rising at the site where terrorists destroyed the twin towers nine years ago, is scheduled for completion in 2013.

The lease deal is the biggest for lower Manhattan in more than 25 years, the authority said in a statement today. It shows that 1 World Trade is a viable commercial property, something many people doubted when it was proposed, said Robert Yaro, executive director of New York’s Regional Plan Association, an urban planning group. It should also diversify a market that has long depended on financial companies as tenants, he said.

“This is very, very important in realizing the vision that a lot of us have had for years, for transforming lower Manhattan into a much more diversified economy,” Yaro said in a phone interview. “This is likely to attract a whole new group of tenants to downtown and to the trade center.”

20 Through 41

Conde Nast, a unit of Samuel Irving Newhouse Jr.’s Advance Publications Inc., will lease floors 20 through 41, the Port Authority said. The company’s headquarters is currently at Midtown’s 4 Times Square, owned by New York real estate investor Douglas Durst.

Durst last year agreed to invest at least $100 million into 1 World Trade Center as a partner with the Port Authority. He completed that deal today and agreed to take responsibility for leasing and property management.

Newhouse, speaking at the public lease signing on the 34th floor of 1 World Trade, recalled that 50 years ago, “the whole company fit into half a floor at the Graybar Building” in Midtown. The new lease makes room for more than 3,000 employees, he said.

“We hope Conde Nast at last can be united into a single building and will be a catalyst for the rebirth of the whole downtown area, just as we did for Times Square,” he said.

The company plans to move in between the last quarter of 2014 and the first part of 2015, said John Bellando, Conde Nast’s chief financial officer.

‘Trendsetter’

“Conde Nast has always been something of a trendsetter, and its move is sure to attract others to the area, further strengthening and diversifying the lower Manhattan economy,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement. He is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, parent company of Bloomberg News.

The tower is now at the 66th floor and is rising at a rate of one floor per week, according to the Port Authority. Conde Nast is the second signed tenant; Chinese property developer Beijing Vantone Real Estate Co. in 2009 signed a lease for 190,810 square feet.

Tara Stacom and Alan Stein of Cushman & Wakefield Inc. led Conde Nast lease negotiations for the Port Authority, while Mary Ann Tighe and Greg Tosko of CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. represented the publisher.

“We built a new reality at the World Trade Center and this transaction will be the exclamation point of that turnaround,” Chris Ward, executive director of the Port Authority, said in today’s statement. “Completing this lease with Conde Nast is a game changer.”

To contact the reporter on this story: David M. Levitt in New York at dlevitt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel in New York at kwetzel@bloomberg.net

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