Durst in China: Please Come Fill One WTC

1wtc 0 Durst in China: Please Come Fill One WTCWhile we wait with baited breath for Conde Nast to uncap their pens and finally sign on the dotted line at One World Trade Center, the Chinese have, as usual, beaten their American counterparts to the punch.

Back when the building was still called the “Freedom Tower,” Chinese firm Vantone Industrial signed a 200,000-square-foot lease. Now, two years later, the Chinese are the only ones to have closed a deal in the tower. That’s a fact clearly not lost on Douglas Durst, of stakeholder the Durst Organization, who’s heading to China to woo more such tenants. Said Mr. Durst in a statement:

One World Trade Center is an ideal location for global business. As one of the world’s most eagerly anticipated new structures, this building is a one-of-a-kind treasure that holds irresistible appeal for overseas decision-makers contemplating international locations for expansion. I am fully confident that this incomparable property will capture the imagination of the Chinese business elite.

Of course, it’s not easy filling nearly 3 million square feet (minus 1 million once Conde signs) in a building whose finished-by date remains uncertain—especially with 52.5 million feet elsewhere in the city ripe for the taking.

But for Asian companies, used to shiny new office towers in their homelands, One WTC offers one of the few opportunities amongst our creaky office stock to enjoy the modern amenities offered elsewhere. Moreover, as Building Congress Prez Richard Anderson noted in an interview on an unrelated topic with The Observer, the building offers an opportunity to construct a world-class flagship space, without the hassle of building from scratch a la Goldman Sachs.

Some might take the Vantone lease and Mr. Durst’s trip as yet another sign the Chinese are taking over New York commercial real estate. But before we go weeping into our flags, maybe it’s more like a sign that a few American companies should just hurry up and sign at the American tower already.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for the Durst Organization noted that the official completion date for the building is 2013.

lkusisto@observer.com