Condé Nast Agrees to Pay Back-Rent at One World Trade Center

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Donald Newhouse and S. I. Newhouse during "7th On Sale" To Benefit AIDS Research - November 29, 1990 at 69th Regiment Armory in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

By: Serach Nissim

The owners of Condé Nast were head-to-head with their landlord at One World Trade Center in a fierce tug of war regarding a tenancy dispute.  The widely watched dispute revolved around tenant Condé Nast, privately held by Advance Publications honchos Steven Newhouse and Donald Newhouse, who threatened to abandon their downtown lease amid the pandemic.  As per the NY Post, last summer, the powerful magazine publishers claimed they couldn’t afford the rent amid the COVID-19 pandemic and said they wanted to move out and relocate to cheaper space in Midtown or even New Jersey.

The landlords at One World Trade Center, namely the Port Authority and the Durst Organization, warned Advance that it wouldn’t be let out of its full lease which doesn’t end till 2039. Conde’ owner Advance, which publishes posh titles Vanity Fair, Vogue and The New Yorker, backed down on its threat to leave, but in January stopped paying its $2.4 million in monthly rent. Durst, the minority partner which manages and leases the tower, didn’t give up charging that Condé claimed that it couldn’t afford rent “while their parent company is reaping billions in the stock market is not credible.”

Now, the Post reported, that Advance Publications has backed down, paying close to $10 million for four months’ back rent for its 1.1 million square feet lease at the downtown skyscraper.  The landlords gave in as well.  Advance wants to sublease 400,000 square feet of its space.  The landlords have a say in sub-tenancy agreements, and Durst has agreed to “collaborate” with the Newhouses’ leasing broker, JLL, by being flexible and helping to “facilitate” any deals, said a source for the Post.  “This is important to Advance. They were nervous over filling so much space when the downtown market is weak,” added the source.

Already, social site Reddit, also majority-owned by Advance, is taking on 40,000 square feet of Condé’s lease at One World Trade Center, relocating from several other NYC locations.

Durst spokesman Jordan Barowitz commented saying, “We are pleased with the outcome. We look forward to collaborating with [Condé leasing broker] JLL on the sublease of Advance’s available space.”

A spokesperson for Advance said, “We are pleased to have resolved our differences and to continue to call One World Trade Center our home. We are collaborating with JLL and Durst to find additional first-class tenants to lease the space we no longer need, and we are pleased with the level of activity we are seeing.”