- Real estate experts thought the tenants of New York City’s new One World Trade Center would be “global Fortune 500 companies” and “guys in suits.”
- But instead, many of the building’s tenants are smaller technology, media, and creative firms, according to Jordan Barowitz, an executive at the Durst Organisation, which oversees leasing in the building.
- I took a tour of the building and found the atmosphere to be much more casual than I’d imagined it, not stuffy and formal.
New York City’s One World Trade Center welcomed its first tenants in 2014 – but they weren’t necessarily the tenants that were expected.
Jordan Barowitz, Vice President of Public Affairs for the Durst Organisation, which oversees leasing in the building, said when they first started marketing the building’s office spaces in 2010, they had a very different idea of who their tenants were going to be.
“We thought that the building, with its prestigious address and the level of its architecture and design, would be like this prestige icon where global Fortune 500 companies would want to have their New York or their US offices,” he told Business Insider. “We thought it was going to be a really sort of formal office building.”
Instead, One World Trade Center found itself with a different tenant base. “It’s not guys in suits strolling the corridors, but people that look like this dude,” Barowitz said jokingly, gesturing at a man passing by at that moment wearing black jeans, sneakers, a long-sleeved tee, and a backpack.
While I did see some “guys in suits” here and there, the majority of people I noticed passing through the lobby and working in the building’s employee café were dressed in much more casual styles. Beards and sneakers were abundant.
“It’s not these well-established companies; it’s technology and media and creative firms,” Barowitz said. “It’s a lot of smaller tenants. They’re not startups, they’re like 2.0 businesses who have graduated from the garage to the office space in Soho or Tribeca, and now they need more space and they need a Class A building that operates efficiently.”
The unexpected occupants are largely a result of those industries seeing the most growth in the market in recent years, according to Barowitz. Some of One World Trade Center’s current tenants include media company Condé Nast, marketing startup BounceX, sports media company and streaming service DAZN, Inc. Magazine, and workout app Aaptiv.
“One WTC is becoming the building for companies in the tech and media world and we look forward to having them be part of the exciting community at the building,” David Falk, president of the New York tri-state region of Newmark Knight Frank, said in a news release announcing DAZN’s lease signing.
Despite the abundance of tech and media companies, One World Trade Center does house several Fortune 500 companies, including NCR and Ameriprise Financial. The building is also home to commercial real estate company Cushman & Wakefield and investment research company Morningstar.
One World Trade Center has a creative vibe – in an easy location
One big reason these smaller-scale and more creative tenants are attracted to the building is because it’s more modern and efficient than some of the Soho and Tribeca loft buildings they might’ve occupied before, Barowitz said. All the elevators work, there are a lot of them so you don’t have to wait too long, and the air conditioning works on the weekends.
Another big draw is the building’s location. Lower Manhattan has become more attractive for employers because the creative class has moved to Brooklyn and North Jersey, according to Barowitz.
“So if Condé Nast takes a look at who their employees are, they’re not coming on the train from Westchester,” he said. “They’re coming on the subway from Fort Greene. So Lower Manhattan is much more convenient for their employees, especially if you live in North Jersey and Hoboken.”
Travelling from Hoboken to One World Trade Center on the PATH train can take as little as 14 minutes, according to Google Maps.
“Also, buildings get vibes,” Barowitz said. “And this building has gotten the vibe of this is where these creative companies are.”