By Michael Hammer, with photography by Eric Laignel
GROUP M —THE INNOVATIVE and diverse public relations and advertising giant—has moved into 3 World Center, making it the latest in a long line of multi-faceted and cutting-edge businesses that reflect the growth and diversity of the community around it. “It’s a great fit,” says the global media investment management group’s Chief Financial Officer, Mark Sanders. “Downtown is the new media hub. It’s a place of revitalization and rebirth. It’s the best place for us to be.”
The company’s unique new office space houses multiple brands including Essence, Mediacom, and Mindshare in its multi-adaptable 14 floors and 700,000 square feet. The space—which includes a modular town hall theater, a coffee bar complete with baristas, a health care and physical therapy unit, and an open terrace—is home to the company’s over 4,000 employees.
The 80-storey 3 World Trade Center—now the fifth-tallest skyscraper in New York—has been described by Architectural Digest as the “next step in Lower Manhattan’s renaissance.” The building’s “ability to attract hip, creative tenants like GroupM,” according to the magazine, “should accelerate the youth movement already reshaping downtown.” GroupM’s new headquarters is the latest example of cutting edge, collaborative office space for a new demographic.
Sanders says that being an integral part of Silverstein’s vision for a reborn Downtown is an honor. “Downtown is incredibly beautiful and revitalized today. But when we began our search for a new base of operations, it was still in the recovery stage. We took a leap of faith in [developer] Larry Silverstein’s inspiring vision for the area—but we always believed it would become a reality.”
And that goes a long way to explain why the group committed to being 3 World Trade Center’s anchor tenant, occupying about 40 percent of the newest World Trade Center tower. “This is a moment of enormous pride for me and for everyone in the Silverstein organization,” said the renowned developer at the building’s ribbon cutting. “We sought to create modern, environmentally-conscious, and technologically-advanced offices. Places that foster creativity where young people would want to work and collaborate.”
The building’s open environment was originally intended to serve the financial industry, but has been repurposed to provide unparalleled utility and inspiration for one of the most creative media groups in the world. “Many of the same features that are conducive to a trading floor are conducive to the kinds of environments companies are trying to make in general,” observed Jeremy Moss, director of leasing for Silverstein Properties.
And that was one of the main selling points for GroupM. “One of the best things about the space is our ability to be flexible,” Sanders says. “It allows for an enormous amount of creativity. We offer our facilities to all of our clients to utilize—whether it’s one of the many huge conference rooms or the smaller offices. “The unique environment inspires collaboration with our clients and allows talented people to be inventive.”
Sanders describes GroupM’s philosophy as creating an innovative workspace that emphasizes group-wide collaboration while enabling individual agency brands to flourish by taking advantage of the most current trends in agile working. “We needed a lot of space,” Sanders admits. “We have 4,000 people—and that’s not an easy task in itself. But we also wanted to be part of an area that provided for the needs of our employees—and would create a productive, inspiring and fulfilling environment.”
Technology, advertising, media, and information, or TAMI businesses made up 37 percent of the square footage that relocated Downtown in 2016. Media mammoths like Condé Nast and Time Inc. blazed the trail when they moved Downtown. At the end of 2018, TAMI companies made up more than 30 percent of the Downtown office market, up from 17 percent a decade earlier.
And that has helped the company attract, stimulate, nurture, and retain the brightest young talent seeking to work with some of the world’s largest brands. “Having companies like Condé Nast come down here made the decision that much easier,” Sanders says. “People seeking cutting-edge opportunities are flocking here and we want to be there to help them accomplish their goals. The area is a media hub and it made sense for us to contribute to and drive that environment,” Sanders says. “But we also wanted a place where our people would feel connected to the community. We wanted a place that had a real vitality—in business and beyond. We wanted to be among that vanguard to set up shop here and use our voice to drive that dynamic.”
GroupM’s chief executive officer, Kelly Clark, agrees. “Lower Manhattan is quickly becoming a world capital for advertising, media, technology and information. We’re excited about our inspiring new space and everything this neighborhood has to offer.” DT