Payments from the bistate agency helped bring anchor tenant to One World Trade Center
More than a year after Condé Nast moved from Times Square to One World Trade Center, its new landlord, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, continues to shell out more than $3 million a month to cover the cost of the media giant’s previous lease.
By the end of 2015, the Port Authority had paid $47.6 million to cover Condé Nast’s 840,000-square-foot lease at 4 Times Square, a 48-story office tower owned by the Durst Organization, according to information provided by the authority.
The payments will continue through 2019, when Condé Nast’s midtown lease is set to expire, unless Durst finds a new tenant. So far, no new lessee has been confirmed. Durst is also a co-owner and the leasing agent for One World Trade Center; it signed on after the Port Authority had closed its $2.2 billion, 25-year lease with Condé Nast.
Industry insiders with knowledge of the deal said last week that Durst is close to leasing 240,000 of the 840,000 square feet that Condé Nast left behind in Times Square. Those people, who asked not to be named, said that ICAP, which creates trading platforms for financial products, may have a pending deal at the property for 150,000 feet, in a move from Jersey City.
Other tenants have passed on the Times Square tower, including Salesforce, which considered 4 Times Square before agreeing to rent at least 200,000 square feet at 1095 Sixth Avenue. Law firm Milbank Tweed has been looking around Manhattan for a quarter-million-square-foot block, but may have focused its search elsewhere, at 55 Hudson Yards.
Spokesmen for both Durst and the potential tenants would not confirm the reports. A Durst spokesman said last week an announcement was imminent.
“Times Square has gotten a bad rap this last year or two with the [costumed] characters,” said Michael Cohen, the tristate president of real estate firm Colliers International.
With no replacement tenants so far, the Port Authority remains on the hook for Condé Nast’s rent—which will total about $200 million before the lease’s expiration at the end of 2019—just as it’s planning $30 billion in capital spending over the next decade.
The Port Authority agreed to take on Condé Nast’s rent to persuade the media firm to relocate to One World Trade Center. That deal was struck in 2011. Since moving into One World Trade Center in November 2014, Condé Nast has paid nearly $100 million in rent at the downtown tower.
“I would not second-guess the Port’s decision to take over Condé’s lease,” Cohen said. “There was a lot of pressure both economically and publicly to show activity at the Trade Center, and a big lease like Condé’s was in everyone’s best interest.”