- Last Updated: 12:38 AM, April 25, 2012
- Posted: 12:53 AM, April 24, 2012
Sen. Chuck Schumer is waiting for an answer from the US General Services Administration over what’s holding up its lease at 1 World Trade Center.
Schumer called the embattled agency’s acting head last week asking for someone there to get moving on the 300,000 square-foot lease — nearly eight months since a term sheet was signed and an epic five years after the talks began.
As of yesterday, however, Schumer’s office said they “haven’t touched base yet.”
Schumer last week phoned GSA acting administrator Daniel Tangherlini asking the agency to get on with completing the deal.
Schumer told Realty Check on Friday: “I said, ‘Look, I know you’re deluged. I need someone in high authority who can get this done.’ He agreed and said he’d assign somebody” to take up the matter.
The GSA deal would bring the 3 million square-foot skyscraper owned by the Port Authority and the Durst Organization to over 50 percent leased, an important milestone for luring more tenants.
The GSA is in turmoil over the recent spending scandal, but it doesn’t explain why the lease sat on its desk for so long before that.
Schumer got involved when he discovered there had been “little to no movement” on the lease, even though all major terms were agreed to last August.
Schumer is a vocal advocate for new commercial construction in the city — he calls office towers “our modern-day factories.”
He told us, “A further [GSA] delay could signal to people that it’s just not happening, and encourage other tenants to look elsewhere.
“If this lease isn’t completed, it could be much harder to rent the rest of the tower,” he added. He noted that among other issues, not knowing for certain whether the space was available would only complicate the PA’s and Durst’s leasing efforts.
But Schumer fears that the GSA’s will to complete the lease could be sapped as the agency struggles with the aftermath of the spending scandal that has enraged President Obama.
The lease would be a win-win for the tower’s owners and for the GSA. The agency was first supposed to take 600,000 square feet when government officials were struggling to get the former “Freedom Tower” off the ground.
It was sensibly whittled down last year when the PA, Durst and leasing agent Tara Stacom of Cushman & Wakefield, emboldened by the 1 million square-foot Condé Nast lease, decided they’d rather have more space available for private-sector tenants.
As we’ve reported, the original, subsidized terms called for the GSA to pay a net-effective rent in the low $40s per square foot, compared with the $60s a square foot starting rent Condé will pay. It wasn’t clear if those terms still apply.
The GSA would occupy floors 50-56, higher than Condé Nast on 20-44 and lower than Beijing Vantone on 65-69 and part of 64.
Reps for the PA and Durst declined to comment. A rep for the GSA didn’t get back to us by deadline.
Put this in the Interesting Wait-and-See Category.
Sources who are rarely wrong told us Goldman Sachs is getting ready to move staff out of its semi-white elephant Jersey City tower and back to Lower Manhattan.
We even heard the secretive investment banking giant hoped to sell the 42-story, 1.5 million-square-foot building officially known as 30 Hudson St. once it emptied it of the firm’s real estate, technology and administrative staff — who ended up there after Goldman’s traders famously refused to move there after 9/11.
The sale part appears to be untrue. But something’s going on in the Jersey City giant.
The Cesar Pelli-designed skyscraper is said to be detested even by employees who live in New Jersey. “I go to work for Goldman Sachs and I end up in Jersey City?” one insider lamented to us. Staffers shifted from Manhattan deride it as “Elba,” the island to which Napoleon was exiled.
Goldman began erecting the tower, New Jersey’s tallest, in 2000 and opened it in 2004. The centerpiece of what was envisioned as a $2 billion “campus” in Jersey City, 30 Hudson St. received incentives from Trenton, including a 10-year state income tax abatement program worth $164 million.
Now that the abatement period is over, our moles suggested, Goldman has less reason to use the tower.
A Goldman insider shared with us that the company “might move some people” from New Jersey to its new headquarters at 200 West St. in Battery Park City, where there’s room for more bodies.
But the source cautioned it didn’t mean the Jersey location would be emptied.
The firm “often moves people between Manhattan and Jersey City for specific business reasons,” we’re told.
In fact, Goldman operates a ferry between Downtown and Jersey to shuttle people.
Goldman Sachs has never revealed how much of the Jersey tower was occupied. Brokerage sources estimate it’s been between one-third and two-thirds full at different times.
A call to Goldman Sachs real estate head Dino Fusco was returned by corporate spokesman for the Americas David Wells, who declined to comment.