A Beijing real estate company is becoming the first corporate tenant at the former World Trade Center site.
Beijing Vantone Real Estate has signed a lease for over five floors of the Freedom Tower at the site, the site’s owner said. The company plans to open a center that helps Chinese businesses open offices around the world.
The 20-year lease, with rents beginning at $80 a square foot, is similar to terms agreed to last June with the site’s owner, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Businessweek reports the Port Authority and federal, state and city agencies have agreed to rent space in two of the planned skyscrapers at the site, but officials have struggled to attract major corporations to relocate.
Merrill Lynch and JPMorgan Chase backed away from separate negotiations for space in the new towers, blaming economic troubles and the uncertain pace of rebuilding.
The 1,776-foot (540-meter) Freedom Tower, which has been rising quickly lately to about 10 stories above street level, is set to open in 2013 — 12 years after the World Trade Center was destroyed in a terror attack.
Timetables for four other towers are unclear; the Port Authority has been renegotiating a long-term lease with developer Larry Silverstein.
Beijing Vantone is expected to take up floors 65 through 69 and parts of 64 in the 102-story tower for the China Center, a business service center that helps Chinese companies start up offices around the world.
‘Signing up the China Center on competitive terms and in a struggling economy is a firm stamp of approval for the World Trade Center site as a world-class business destination,’ said the Port Authority’s chairman, Anthony Coscia.
According to the International Herald Times Beijing Vantone had negotiated three years ago with Silverstein to move into 7 World Trade Center across from the old World Trade Center site, but that deal fell through.