By Julie Shapiro
Officials hailed the 1 million-square-foot lease as a major step in lower Manhattan's post-9/11 recovery, proof that the neighborhood is evolving from a purely financial center into a diverse business and residential district.
"The entire landscape of downtown changes today forever," said Chris Ward, executive director of the Port Authority, the agency building One World Trade Center. "Where Conde Nast leads, others will follow."
The media giant will move its 18 magazines and 27 websites, with 3,000 employees in all, into the skyscraper's 21st to 40th floors at the end of 2014 or beginning of 2015, Ward said.
The Port Authority declined to disclose the rent Conde Nast will pay.
Standing on the 34th floor of the still-rising tower Wednesday afternoon, Si Newhouse, chairman of Conde Nast, said the company has come a long way since the early 1960s, when all of the company's offices fit in just 25,000 square feet.
"Things have certainly changed a great deal, not only for Conde Nast but for the city," Newhouse said. "We hope [the move to One World Trade Center] will be a catalyst for the rebirth of downtown."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he hopes Conde Nast will revitalize lower Manhattan in much the same way that the company boosted Times Square by moving there more than 10 years ago. The Conde deal has already generated new interest in the lower Manhattan, with Sirius XM Radio, J. Crew and other companies now eyeing a move downtown, Bloomberg said.
Conde Nast is the second private company to lease space in One World Trade Center. The first was the China Center, which signed a deal in 2009 to take about 200,000 square feet.
Steel for the 3 million-square-foot skyscraper recently reached the 66th floor and is rising at about a floor per week.
"The bottom line is: Osama bin Laden is dead, and we are growing and alive," Bloomberg said.