The reports that Condé Nast would eventually move into the still under-construction One World Trade Center were hardly new, but details about the impact of their move are fascinating now that they've signed a lease for one million square feet in the building once known as the Freedom Tower for an estimated $2 billion over 5 years. The New York Times has confirmed that the publisher of titles like The New Yorker, Vogue and Vanity Fair are now all going to be based in lower Manhattan. It's a big deal for the Port Authority who've received their share of criticism for the slow start to construction, and they're boasting that the new high profile tenant will bring a new crowd downtown. Christopher O. Ward, executive director of the Port Authority, told The Times, "We built a new reality at the World Trade Center, and this transaction will be the exclamation point on that turnaround."
Indeed, a slew of publications and media companies will soon call the Financial District home, and the timing seems to support the Port Authority's hopes and dreams with the Condé deal. American Media, home to The National Enquirer, Men's Fitness and Playboy, announced a move to 4 New York Plaza on Broad Street last June, a few weeks after the New York Times first reported the rumor that Si Newhouse was taking his team downtown. In July, Mort Zuckerman announced that his Daily News offices would move from W. 33rd Street offices to join American Media in the same 25-story Broad Street tower. Newsweek moved to 7 Hanover Square in November, and like everybody had suspected, the decision boiled down to cheaper rents. Media companies would prefer to stay in midtown if they could afford it, but it's fine because the Financial District is closer to Brooklyn where all the employees live anyways.
So Si must have gotten a great deal, right? According to Felix Salmon's calculations, "Condé's getting no bargain" at $80 per square foot on average. At least, the folks at One World Trade Center are being accommodating:
Besides matters of costs, terms and incentives, the negotiations involved reams of traffic studies and security discussions, to ensure that its black cars (more than 100), its racks of designer dresses and its well-shod executives would be able to pass swiftly each day through the police-imposed security zone that is to surround the complex.
Real estate prices aside, it seems like the move could inevitably good for journalism. There's something enticing about the idea of reporters peering into the bankers' windows.