One WTC is set to top
out this year.

NEW YORK CITY-United States Senator Chuck Schumer is urging the General Services Administration to put ink to paper and seal its 300,000-square-foot lease deal at One World Trade Center. In a statement released by the senator’s office on Friday, Schumer has called upon acting GSA administrator Daniel Tangherlini to move forward with the federal agency’s preliminary lease agreement at the 1,776-foot tower, which is set to top out at 104 stories within the next several weeks.

Last summer, the GSA signed a term sheet for space at the skyscraper, but following the recent controversy surrounding the organization travel abuses and misuse of public funds, Schumer is pushing to ensure that the focus is “not lost” to promptly finalize the agreement.

“The federal government was a key member of the World Trade Center tenant community before 9/11, and it must continue to be a significant presences now, as we stand on the precipice of a remarkable Downtown resurgence,” Schumer says, in a prepared statement. “If we want to continue to attract world-class business to the new World Trade Center, we need to make sure we put our money where our mouth is and get some skin in the game.”

Once the deal is completed, the GSA lease will push One WTC’s total occupancy to over 50% leased. Previously, Chinese real estate firm Vantone inked a deal for 200,000 square feet at the building, and magazine publisher Conde Nast agreed to anchor the tower, taking over one million square feet on floors 20-44.

While the GSA lease would bring the building to half-full, at the same time, its 300,000-square-foot agreement is less than originally expected. In 2006, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, the developer of the tower along with joint venture partner the Durst Organization, entered into a memorandum of understanding with the GSA “for its occupancy of approximately 645,000 rentable square feet in the Freedom Tower,” according to minutes from the Port’s Feb. 22, 2007 meeting.

Schumer says the federal agency needs to sign off on the leasing arrangement “immediately” in order to mark a “significant psychological accomplishment” for Lower Manhattan. “We can’t let the current mess at the top of the GSA derail the effort to finalize the lease at One World Trade Center, which is so critical to maintain positive momentum for the site and the whole Downtown community,” he adds.

Tara Stacom, vice chairman at Cushman & Wakefield, who handles leasing at One World Trade Center, previously told Real Estate Forum that leasing efforts have remained strong at the building from a variety of different tenants despite a slight softening in the Manhattan office market. “We’ve been feeling an exceptionally strong prospect pool, and when you look at it, it’s very diversified, both geographically and by industry group,” she said.

The GSA did not respond to a phone call and an e-mail to GlobeSt.com for this story.