Advance Publications, the holding company behind Condé Nast, is reportedly attempting to renegotiate or get out of its lease at One World Trade Center, just six years after moving in.
Variety reports that the media empire is re-considering its 25-year lease, which it secured in 2014 for roughly $2 billion. Prior to decamping downtown, Condé Nast was headquartered at 4 Times Square.
As part of the real estate deal, the media empire committed to leasing 21 floors of the skyscraper. However, with work from home mandates still in place and an increasingly unstable media landscape, a spokesperson for the company said “alternatives” are currently being considered.
“Advance Publications is in discussions about bringing the lease at One World Trade Center into line with current market conditions and its ongoing needs at this location,” a Condé Nast spokesperson told Variety. “It is considering alternative solutions to address these requirements.”
Insiders speculated to Variety that Condé may buy out its lease by paying some of what it owes. It’s also believed that Advance Publications has been scouting office space in “more affordable neighborhoods” in Manhattan.
CEO Roger Lynch has said that going forward, far less office space will be required — and some employees have even been told to clean out their offices as they continue to work remotely.
An email from Chief People Officer Stan Duncan sent to employees last week reads, “While it’s difficult to estimate the exact moment when we will return to working regularly in the office, we know that remote work will be a larger part of our future workforce strategy. Based on our survey results, a majority of our team — over 70% — expressed interest in some form of flexible or full-time remote work arrangement. We are working on the details and process for longer-term remote work agreements, and will have more to share on the program and how to apply soon.”
The email continued, “This is also why our teams on a few of our floors at One WTC received a communication about removing their personal belongings from the office as we begin planning a different layout for space to accommodate flexible work schedules and implement safety measures.”
As a result of the global pandemic, Condé laid off about 100 staff in the U.S.