Another Midtown Media Refugee Heads Downtown—Omnicom Leases 184,000 Feet at 195 Broadway

The Financial District is increasingly becoming a nesting ground for communications and media firms eager to fly away from midtown’s wince-inducing rents.

Earlier this week, advertising and communications titan Omnicom Group penned a deal to lease about 184,000 square feet at 195 Broadway, moving its subsidiary OMD from various locations in midtown into the column-and-marble-lined former AT&T building.

The deal, first reported on The Observer’s Web site on Monday, puts media-focused OMD into a building owned by David Levinson and Robert LapidusL&L Holding Co.

The agreement comes just three weeks after the publisher of American Lawyer magazine, ALM, announced its intention to head south from midtown to Larry Silverstein’s 120 Broadway, snapping up 90,000 square feet.

Such deals, taken with another 20 or so moves by creative firms since 2005, have led planners downtown to bust out the Champagne, celebrating the seemingly successful efforts to diversify the landscape south of Chambers Street beyond the familiar financial-services sector.

“We want a really robust and diverse mix of commercial sectors, and I think it’s happening organically—it’s market-driven,” said Liz Berger, the new president of business booster group the Alliance for Downtown New York. “The more the merrier.”

Of course the rents downtown, while rising, still offer a tempting carrot for firms faced with tough midtown rents. The average rents in October, according to brokerage CB Richard Ellis, were about $47 a square foot downtown versus $83 a foot in midtown.