Conde Nast near deal for One World Trade Center

NEW YORK Tue May 17, 2011 6:39pm EDT

NEW YORK May 17 (Reuters) - Media company Conde Nast Publications is near to reaching a deal to relocate to One World Trade Center from midtown Manhattan, a move that could draw other high-profile tenants to the Ground Zero project.

One World Trade Center is being built by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. It has struggled to find firms to lease space in the skyscraper during the post-recession period, even after trying to make it more marketable by changing its name from the Freedom Tower.

John Bellando, Conde Nast chief financial officer and chief operating officer, on Tuesday said through a spokeswoman:

"Conde Nast is close to concluding these negotiations." Bellando added: "A move to One World Trade Center would be a catalyst for helping to transform downtown, similar to our positive impact in Times Square."

Conde Nast, the publisher of Vogue, Architectural Digest, Vanity Fair and other glossy magazines, moved to Times Square from a Madison Avenue location in 1999, before the crossroads became the tourist magnet it has now become.

The New York Times, on its web site, said Conde Nast had reached an agreement to lease around one million square feet at One World Trade Center. The pact was estimated to be worth $2 billion over 25 years.

Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward, in a statement, signaled a deal was near. "We built a new reality at the World Trade Center and this transaction will be the exclamation point on that turnaround."

One World Trade Center, which will be 1.776 feet tall (541 metres), is expected to cost about $3 billion and open in 2013. It is part of a complex of skyscrapers, a memorial and a museum that will be built on the 16-acre (6.5 hectare) site where nearly 3,000 perished on September 11, 2001 after two jets were flown into the twin towers.

(Reporting by Joan Gralla; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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