Murdoch empire set to move into World Trade Center

News Corp and 21st Century Fox join other firms in fleeing mid-Manhatten

Bjarke Ingels’ design for Two World Trade Center

Bjarke Ingels’ design for Two World Trade Center

 

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox and News Corp have chosen a Danish architect to build their US headquarters at the World Trade Center site in Manhattan.

The two groups have joined an exodus of media and creative companies from midtown Manhattan to an area that used to be synonymous with financial services, signing a “non-binding agreement” to be anchor tenants in Two World Trade Center.

The building will be designed by Bjarke Ingels’ BIG firm, which was commissioned by Fox and News Corp after the two companies rejected a decade-old design by Foster + Partners.

James Murdoch, who is likely to succeed Chase Carey, Fox’s chief operating officer, when his contract expires next summer, led the search for a new design together with John Nallen, Fox’s chief financial officer. The companies plan to move in 2020 when their midtown lease expires.

“They wanted creative floor spaces where everybody could see each other,” Mr Ingels told the Financial Times, revealing that the Fox and News Corp teams also considered a “horizontal skyscraper” on the west side of Manhattan.

The companies eventually recommended the World Trade Center site.

“The building that had already been designed was really designed for a financial institution and was much more geared to bankers or lawyers working around a central core,” Mr Ingels said.

Mary Ann Tighe, the broker on the deal and chief executive of CBRE’s New York Tri-State region, said: “If the transaction happens, it will mean the completion of the World Trade Center. It will also signify media’s shift downtown from midtown and creates a campus with Condé Nast, Group M, and others.”

The unusual stepped construction of Two World Trade Center will alter the downtown skyline. Fox told employees, in an internal memo, that the building, which will be shared by businesses ranging from Fox News to the Wall Street Journal, would “facilitate idea sharing, connectivity, and collaboration”.

Larry Silverstein, the 83-year-old New York developer who bought the lease to the World Trade Center site for $3.2billion just before the 9/11 attacks, had vowed to rebuild the site.

After a long saga of political battles and swelling costs, Silverstein Properties has finished the flagship One World Trade Center, as well as Four World Trade Center and Seven World Trade Center, while Three World Trade Center is under construction.

But Silverstein Properties had been seeking an anchor tenant for Two World Trade Center before building the replacement for the original second twin tower.

Financial Times