Citi-Backed Mortgage Startup Takes Space at 3 World Trade Center

(Bloomberg) -- Better.com, the home-financing startup backed by Citigroup Inc. and other major financial firms, plans to move into 3 World Trade Center as it looks to grow beyond its current office in a neighboring downtown Manhattan skyscraper.

The company, founded in New York City in 2016, signed a lease for 44,000 square feet (4,000 square meters) on the tower’s 59th story and has the option to expand on two more floors, according to a statement from landlord Silverstein Properties Inc. The firm plans to move in by the end of the year.

Citi-Backed Mortgage Startup Takes Space at 3 World Trade Center

Better.com works to make securing a mortgage cheaper and more efficient, moving the process online and getting borrowers preapproved faster. It recently closed a $75 million Series C round, with funding from Citigroup’s new financial technology investment arm, American Express Ventures and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

In the past year, the firm hired 480 new employees and moved from Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood to 7 World Trade Center. It’s licensed in 35 states and expects to be open in the remainder, including New York, by the end of the year.

Owners of office buildings in lower Manhattan have faced competition from glassy new skyscrapers in Midtown East and Hudson Yards, the $25 billion development on the far west side that has lured high-profile tenants such as BlackRock Inc. and KKR & Co.

“Park Avenue or Hudson Yards are for people who’ve already made it,” Better.com Chief Executive Officer Vishal Garg said in an interview. “Downtown is for people who are making it.”

At 3 World Trade Center, Better.com will join tenants including advertising company GroupM, consulting giant McKinsey & Co. and stock-exchange operator IEX Group Inc. Silverstein also recently signed leases with mattress startup Casper, quantitative-trading firm Hudson River Trading and beverage company Diageo Plc. The 80-story, 2.8 million-square-foot tower opened in June and is more than 50 percent leased.

Silverstein Chairman Larry Silverstein said in February that he may consider starting construction on 2 World Trade Center, the final skyscraper at the downtown site, without a committed tenant if the developer makes leasing progress in the other towers.

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