Washington-based global law firm Venable LLP is moving to the Durst Organization’s One Five One, the tower formerly known as the Conde Nast Building.
Venable signed a 15-year lease for 157,800 square feet on the 48th through 52nd floors of the building that also was previously known as Four Times Square. The firm also is leasing 11,000 square feet of concourse space.
It’s one of the year’s largest deals.
But there’s more to the story than just a future-embracing commitment by one company at a time when the pandemic has yet to end and many employees continue to work from home.
A few years ago, the skyscraper — the first of four to go up in the late 1990s and early ’00s at the storied corner where Broadway and Seventh Avenue diverge at West 42nd Street — was home to just two companies: Conde Nast and law firm Skadden Arps.
The media giant’s move to One World Trade Center and the law firm’s relocation to Manhattan West left the 52-story, 1.7 million square foot property empty and raised questions about Durst’s ability to refill so much space.
Although One Five One was only completed in 1999, newer towers, including Durst’s own One Bryant Park on the same block, were seen to have the technological edge.
But Durst spent $150 million on capital upgrades to make One Five One freshly competitive. Beyond a renovated lobby and a new food hall inside the redesigned former Conde Nast cafeteria, changes included such environmentally-attuned features as demand-controlled ventilation through sensors installed in air-handling units.
The alterations earned One Five One a LEED Gold certification for existing buildings.
Venable’s 150-plus Big Apple attorneys will also enjoy another much-in-demand fresh-air amenity: a 3,000 square foot wraparound terrace on the 49th floor.
The improvements helped lure a batch of new tenants — including TikTok (230,000 square feet for its US headquarters), BMO and Nasdaq. The tower is now more than 92 percent leased.
Only three of the tower’s 52 floors and “a few halves” remain available, Durst leasing honcho Tom Bow said.
The swift re-tenanting also reflects Midtown’s remarkable resiliency, which was down but not out even during the worst months of the pandemic. (TikTok signed its lease in May of 2020.)
Asking rents on the Venable space ranged from $100 to $135 per square foot.
Venable is consolidating from two Sixth Avenue addresses following its recent merger with Fitzpatrick Cella Harper & Scinto. It expects to move to One Five One in the second half of 2022.
Newmark’s Moshe Sukenik and Eric Zemachson brokered for Venable. Tom Bow and Rocco Romeo repped Durst in-house.