Developers Say Hedge Funds Eye New WTC

Sep 12 2012 | 10:31am ET

The 11th anniversary commemoration of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on New York's World Trade Center yesterday offered family members, survivors and others around the globe an opportunity to remember and mourn those lost on that tragic day. But it also gave the world a close-up view of the skyscraper that is rising in place of the 110-story towers that fell on that day—a tower that looks closer and closer to being completed.

Occupants are scheduled to move in to One World Trade Center in 2014. But if the building were ready today, it would stand in stark contrast to its predecessors in at least one way: None of the three tenants who have signed up, and taken 55% of the building's space, are in financial services.

But representatives of the managers and developers of the new World Trade Center—which will include at least four other office towers, including the completed Seven World Trade Center—tell eVestment|HFN that they have held talks with financial firms, including hedge funds, although none has yet signed on the dotted line.

The Durst Organization's Jordan Barowitz told HFN that his company, which manages 1 WTC, has talked with "several hedge funds." Jeremy Moss of Silverstein Properties, which is developing the rest of the site, has also held discussions with a "couple of large hedge funds."

"You have an address that is recognized throughout the world and the leadership at these hedge fund is cognizant of that," Moss added.

What is more, firms moving to the new WTC could receive major financial benefits for doing so. Hedge fund lawyer Eric Hutner, a 9/11 survivor who said he "would never go back to the place where I almost died," said he could imagine hedge funds moving to what will be New York's tallest building.

"It's a very individualized process, and it depends if the decision-maker has any personal aspect to consider," Hutner told HFN. "If someone can save $10 million by moving their operations from Greenwich to the World Trade Center, then maybe it could happen."

Moss said that visiting potential tenants have been impressed and reassured by the massive security planned for the complex. And, of course, the new WTC already has at least one industry tenant: fund of funds IV Capital, which calls 7 WTC—opened in 2006—home.


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