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Tech Company To Fill Vornado's Meatpacking Project After Aetna Backed Out

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Construction on Vornado's 61 Ninth Ave. as of July 2018
Construction on Vornado's 61 Ninth Ave. as of July 2018

Right now, Aetna is saying "Thank U, Yext."

Yext, a tech brand management firm, has agreed to occupy all of 61 Ninth Ave.'s office space, the company stated in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The deal covers 143K SF and is a sublease with Aetna, which signed a lease to anchor the Vornado-owned building in 2017, but backed out of actually filling the space last year after the insurance giant was bought by CVS.

Yext plans to hire 500 new employees for its new corporate headquarters space. The building sits between 14th and 15th streets a block from the High Line in the Meatpacking District, an example of "True New York," Yext CEO Howard Lerman told Bloomberg. The neighborhood's cultural cachet was more appealing than other hubs of office construction in the Hudson Yards District and at the World Trade Center, he said.

Yext will pay roughly $1M a month in rent to Aetna when its sublease begins Oct. 1, 2020, which increases to $1.1M in 2025. The agreement runs until Feb. 28, 2031.

Yext, which builds software to allow companies to monitor their brand reviews on Yelp, Facebook and elsewhere, is also planning on hiring 500 workers in a new hub in Rosslyn, Virginia, close to where Amazon is building its 25,000-worker HQ2.

Its new Manhattan space will be similarly in the shadow of Google, which owns and occupies millions of square feet in Meatpacking and Chelsea. Yext already employs 600 New Yorkers, and 1,000 people total, according to Bloomberg.

CORRECTION, APRIL 29, 4:05 P.M. ET: Yext has agreed to pay $1M in monthly rent. A previous version of this story misstated Yext's rent obligations. This story has been updated.