Conde Nast began vacating 4 Times Square in late 2014, leaving the Durst Organization building with a lower glamor quotient and an 840,000-square-foot headache.
Now, ICAP, a financial securities brokerage, has a lease out for 150,000 square feet of that space, sources told The Real Deal.
The electronic-trading firm, currently based at Harborside Plaza on the New Jersey waterfront, plans to take four floors at the base of Durst’s 48-story, 1.8 million square-foot building, sources said. Asking rents in that portion of the building are $85 per square foot.
JLL‘s Scott Panzer, who is representing ICAP in the deal, did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for Durst said the company is “aggressively marketing the building and [has] had conversations with many potential tenants.”
ICAP currently has about 106,000 square feet at Mack-Cali’s Harborside Plaza Five with a lease set to expire in October, according to CoStar Group. It’s unclear what the tenant’s leasing requirements were, but sources said 4 Times Square’s wealth of transit options probably played a key role.
“From my view, a lot of these decisions tend to be made around recruiting and where employees are coming from,” said Savills Studley’s Stephen Berliner, who wasn’t involved in the deal but previously toured 4 Times Square with a tenant. “It might be easier to recruit in Midtown Manhattan than it is in Jersey City.”
He also noted that Durst is giving the building a makeover, and considering keeping Conde’s Frank Gehry-designed cafeteria as an amenity space for tenants.
“People kind of forget that it was only built in 1999,” Berliner added. “A big capital improvement project like that is unusual in a building that’s only 16 years old.”
The market has known since late 2013 that Conde’s large block of space on floors 4 through 24 would become available. That’s when Durst, which owns a 10-percent stake in One World Trade Center, announced the media firm would be relocating Downtown.
Durst could afford to be patient with the large vacancy because the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey agreed to pay the landlord $3 million a month to cover the space as part of the deal to bring Conde downtown to anchor 1 World Trade Center, which is majority-owned by the bi-state agency.
As of late 2015, the Port Authority had reportedly spent $47.6 million on covering Conde’s rent at 4 Times Square.
But as Midtown sees an increasing number of large blocks of space hit the market, Durst will have an eye toward filling the upper floors of 4 Times Square.