With 1 World Trade Center Topped Out, Industry Expects Rest of Tenants Will Come

1 World Trade Center is topped out at its patriotic final height of 1776 feet. But there’s still work to be done as the tower remains at 55 percent occupancy.

Image credit: Port Authority of NY & NJ via AECOM.

Back on May 10, Tishman Construction placed the final piece of 1 World Trade Center’s spire in place, finally topping out the tallest tower in the Western Hemisphere at its symbolic 1776-foot height. Now the major hurdle that’s left for the Port Authority (and its minority partner, the Durst Organization) is to finish finding tenants for the rest of the 3.5 million-square-foot, 104-story tower, which today remains only 55-percent leased just 18 months before it’s slated for occupancy. But industry experts are confident that the tower’s symbolic stature and advanced building technologies will be more than enough to attract tenants to the world’s third-tallest building, particularly as the remainder of the World Trade Center site, including the Fulton Street transit connection – are completed.

To date only a handful of tenants have signed up for space at 1 WTC. The GSA, Conde-Nast (1 million square feet, anchor tenant) and the Chinese real estate investment firm Beijing Vantone (200,000 square feet) all completed deals since 2009. But despite sluggish leasing progress thus far in 2013, and even with asking rents around $70 per square foot, technology, media, financial, and legal industry tenants have all expressed interest in the tower, demonstrating its flexibility for and attraction to tenants from a diverse range of industries.

Indeed, as a spokesperson recently told AMNY “[our] philosophy is if you build a beautiful great building in New York, tenants will come.” And as AMNY also notes, 7 World Trade Center (the first LEED Gold-certified office building in the country) was a similarly speculative tower (i.e. no anchor tenant before construction commenced) and has acheived a great deal of leasing success, with occupancy rates consistently above 90 percent. As we noted earlier this year here at gbNYC+, 1 WTC’s marketing efforts have heated up in 2013, aimed particularly at attracting foreign companies to the tower. So while occupancy at 1 WTC may be right around the corner, don’t bet on 45 percent of the tower remaining vacant when the first tenants move in.

Again, the SOM-designed 1 World Trade Center is on track for a LEED Gold rating from USGBC – it would become one of the largest buildings anywhere to earn that designation. As we’ve also described here previously, 1 World Trade Center has a target energy use 20 percent below code, advanced indoor air filtration systems, daylight control systems, and waste steam recycling, among other advanced building technologies.

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