Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Rebuilding of Ground Zero, Part 109

The construction of 1WTC (Freedom Tower) got a big boost as it appears that Condé Nast is going to move from Times Square down to the WTC.
On Tuesday, the authority signed a tentative deal to move the Condé Nast headquarters to 1 World Trade Center, the 1,776-foot skyscraper now under construction at ground zero. That would make it the building’s largest private tenant so far and one with trend-setting cachet to boot.

In the cold, mournful aftermath of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, it was unclear what companies, if any, would move back to that scarred piece of earth. For a long time, it appeared that government agencies were the only likely tenants.

Mitchell Moss, a professor of urban planning at New York University, said the Condé Nast deal could be a turning point, noting that 1 World Trade Center, which will be the city’s tallest building, sits across West Street from the newly opened Goldman Sachs headquarters.

Think: Anna Wintour, the imperious editor-in-chief of Condé Nast’s Vogue, who inspired the novel and film “The Devil Wears Prada,” and Graydon Carter, the bon vivant editor of Vanity Fair, stepping out of black limousines at ground zero.

“We will have the best-paid bankers and best-dressed editors across the street from each other,” Mr. Moss said. “What young ambitious person would not want to be downtown now?”

Condé Nast is not the only high-profile tenant now considering 1 World Trade Center, expected to be completed in 2013. Bank of New York is also considering it as one of several sites.

The Port Authority declined to comment on any negotiations with tenants. Stephen Sigmund, a spokesman for the authority, did say, “There is clearly momentum both in the building of the World Trade Center site and the growing interest from potential tenants.”
The publishing giant would become an anchor tenant in the Freedom Tower. Condé Nast's current landlord is the Durst Organization, which is currently working to finalize a deal to market and lease the Freedom Tower along with a stake in the building.

Some employees were looking forward to the move, which couldn't come before 2014 at the earliest (the building is still under construction), but as should be expected, others aren't looking forward to the move.

Meanwhile, the outrageous outrage over the LPC rejection of landmark status for the buildings where the Cordoba House proposes a community center and mosque continues.

A lawsuit is being filed against the LPC claiming that politics steered the decision rather than the architectural merits. Those lawsuits have little chance of success because as the LPC member statements show - they understood both the political and emotional arguments for landmarking, but the process still required looking at the architectural merits for landmarking and the buildings simply didn't merit such status.

The fact is that the lawsuit itself is a political gesture to force the landmarking of a structure that doesn't merit landmarking on the merits. But that wont stop them from trying to derail the project, which still has to get approval at the City Council.

Moreover, even if the LPC was forced to reconsider the decision, it would not derail the project. Instead, the LPC could force the Cordoba House backers to simply redesign the facade and take other measures to maintain the historical integrity of the building. It might cost more to carry out those efforts, but it would not kill the project.

No comments: