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Condé Nast looks poised to take a 3.5-mile leap to the financial district of lower Manhattan.

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1 World Trade Center

Photo By Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

THINK OF THE TOWN CAR BILLS: Condé Nast looks poised to take a 3.5-mile leap from the tourist-packed environs of Times Square and Midtown to the financial district of lower Manhattan when construction on 1 World Trade Center is finished. In a memo to employees Tuesday, chief operating officer and chief financial officer John Bellando said the publisher is in talks with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to take up residence in the 2.6-million-square-foot tower, which is due for completion in 2013. A real estate source confirmed reports there is already a tentative deal between the parties, but both potential tenant and prospective landlord played coy Tuesday. A Condé Nast spokeswoman would only say the company is in active discussions regarding the new site, while a Port Authority spokesman stuck to the agency’s canned statement, which read: “There is clearly momentum both in the building of the World Trade Center site and the growing interest from potential tenants.” (Funny, that’s not what a New York Times story indicated only three months ago. The article claimed the Port Authority was having difficulty renting the site and was eager to attract a high-profile tenant like Condé Nast to encourage other companies to sign on. That would be code for “rent deal.”)

The move would allow Condé to bring all of its operations, currently split between 4 Times Square and several other Midtown buildings, under one roof. At present, the publisher is halfway through a 20-year, 800,000-square-foot lease at the Times Square flagship, which runs through 2020. However, its Midtown landlord, The Durst Organization, is also a private partner in 1 World Trade Center, a fact that would likely solve any lease-ditching penalties. Bellando’s e-mail said the firm was a party in the current talks. And although the memo said a move wasn’t likely before 2014, the potential transfer downtown set off a whirlwind of speculation throughout the company Tuesday — from how in goodness sake one even gets down to the tip of Manhattan to whether there are any fashion shops there other than Century 21? As one rattled staffer put it, “It’s like a deadline to get new jobs.” — Matthew Lynch

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