Lower Manhattan’s 1 World Trade Center should be about two-thirds leased by the end of the year as new agreements are signed, said Douglas Durst, a co-developer of the skyscraper, which opened to tenants Monday.
The Western Hemisphere’s tallest building, at 1,776 feet (541 meters), is now about 58 percent leased. An agreement for about 70,000 square feet (6,500 square meters) and a number of smaller leases are close to completion, Durst said in an interview in the lobby of the tower, where employees of anchor tenant Conde Nast reported to work for the first time.
Durst, whose real estate company manages and leases the 3 million-square-foot tower on behalf of the owner, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said he expects the pace of leasing to pick up now that the building is open. One World Trade Center, which restores Manhattan’s skyline after terrorists destroyed the original twin towers, took 8 years to build and cost about $3.9 billion.
“When you take people into a construction site, it’s very different from taking them into a finished, open building with a working lobby,” Durst said. “I’ve been in the business for 40 years, and I’ve seen this happen before.”
The smaller leases range from 2,000 to 10,000 square feet, Durst said. He described the potential tenants as “a lot of tech companies,” declining to name them.
The tower should start turning a profit sometime next year and will probably reach “stabilization,” or the point where occupancy exceeds 90 percent, by 2019, said Jordan Barowitz, Durst’s spokesman.
Conde Nast, publisher of magazines including the New Yorker and Vanity Fair, will occupy almost 1.2 million square feet on the 20th through 44th floors of the 104-story building.
The about 200 Conde Nast employees who are moving in today are among the first office workers to experience a full day on the 16-acre (6.5-hectare) World Trade Center site since Sept. 10, 2001, the day before terrorists leveled the complex, killing more than 2,700 people. Last week, some Port Authority employees began working from their new offices at Larry Silverstein’s 4 World Trade Center, across the site from 1 World Trade.
Dimitri Jones, 22, a Conde Nast messenger and mail clerk, said he stayed up all night, anxious about coming in to work today. He said it wasn’t because of the terrorist attack.
“I love the way it looks,” said Jones, who grew up in Brooklyn. “I’m actually not nervous. I’m just ready to start. It was a tragedy, but I’m ready to move forward.”
The skyscraper’s opening is “truly a miracle,” Steven Plate, director of World Trade Center construction for the Port Authority, said at a news conference on the building’s plaza. “We’re very proud to turn this over as a gift to New York City and the people lost on that fateful day.”
Together, towers 1 and 4 have more than 2 million square feet that are unrented. Silverstein, who built 4 World Trade Center, last week sold Liberty Bonds to finance the construction of a third tower, No. 3, which will bring another 2 million square feet to the market.
Conde Nast, in addition to its 18 consumer magazines, publishes 27 websites, four business-to-business publications and more than 40 mobile-phone and tablet-computer applications, according to its press releases. The company is relocating to lower Manhattan from 4 Times Square in Midtown, a tower developed and owned by Durst.
He said he has “a couple of deals under negotiation” for the space Conde Nast is vacating and that he expects to announce them in the next few months.
The 2 million-square-foot skyscraper, which helped validate the revitalization of Times Square when it was completed in the late 1990s, lost its only other tenant last month when the law firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP said it planned to move to a tower that Brookfield Property Partners LP is building on the far west side, effective in 2020. Durst said he has time to fill the offices, which aren’t on the market yet.
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