Douglas Durst: ‘Showings’ Afoot for Conde Space; China Trip for 1 WTC ‘Like Davos’


douglas durst Douglas Durst: Showings Afoot for Conde Space; China Trip for 1 WTC Like DavosNow that Conde Nast is headed south, the publishing giant’s landlord, Douglas Durst, reveals there is already active interest in Conde’s current digs in 4 Times Square.

“It’s a good building and a good space,” Mr. Durst, chairman of the Durst Organization, said Wednesday, following a lecture to an overflowing room with members of Columbia’s Real Estate Development Program. There have been “showings,” for the several thousand square feet of 4 Times Square space, which will open up in 2015 once Conde decamps to the under-construction 1 World Trade Center. 

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Mr. Durst declined to be more specific. “I can tell you one thing, it won’t be Bank of America.” (A joke, apparently, referring to Durst’s anchor tenant at 1 Bryant Park.)

When it comes to office space, Conde’s tastes are decidedly affordable. Or shall we say fashion forward? “Conde Nast moved from Madison Avenue in the ’90s, when Times Square was a no man’s land,” Mr. Durst, whose late father, Seymour, had a decisive hand in Times Square’s renaissance, reminded us.

Four Times Square and its marquee publishing tenant were a big part of that, too. But, in the last couple of years, with Self editor Lucy Danziger riding a bike to save money and cuts across the board, it was clear Conde would need to downsize its office-space budget. “Now they’re moving downtown,” Mr. Durst said, “where they’ll make another very good deal.”

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He also discussed his recent jaunt to China, in search of more tenants for 1 World Trade Center, where the Durst Organization is the major private stakeholder. He said that no deals came out of the excursion. “It was more like Davos.”

The developer is bearish about 2011, saying only Boston Properties’ planned development at Eighth Avenue and 54th Street will move ahead. Otherwise, he laughed off our attempts to get specific about the year ahead: “I trust my gut,” he said. “My gut, luckily, has grown much bigger over the years.”