Chinese tenant looking to slash 1 WTC footprint by 85%

Vantone’s request presents challenge to Durst, Port Authority
September 23, 2015 04:15PM

A Chinese company is looking to shrink its footprint at One World Trade Center by 85 percent, dealing a body blow to its developers, the Durst Organization and the Port Authority.

Beijing-based Vantone Industrial asked to cut its commitment from 202,000 square feet to 31,344 square feet, according to Crain’s – a mere year after first asking to cut it by half. Vantone was the first tenant to sign at the skyscraper back in 2009, when it was still under construction.

“China Center’s business model changed,” the Durst Organization told Crain’s in a statement. “When a tenant’s circumstances are altered, we seek a solution that keeps them in the building.”

Vantone is planning to set up a “China Center” to serve as a base for Asian companies doing business in the city, but it appears it overestimated demand.

But it’s not all bad news for Durst: while Vantone now wants less space, it is also looking to move up to the 89th floor, from its current space on floors 64 through 69. That would mean Vantone’s rent would rise from more than $70 per square foot to around $100, according to Crain’s.

Although it’s not clear whether Vantone’s troubles are directly related to China’s current economic slowdown, the news is a further indication of how trouble in the Far East could negatively impact the big apple. Chinese firms are among the most active foreign buyers, scooping up trophy properties across Manhattan. [Crain’s]Konrad Putzier