By Daniel Geiger
NBC is close to taking as much as 250,000 s/f at 1221 Avenue of the Americas, according to several sources familiar with the major network’s real estate decision-making.
The space will be used as joint offices for staff from both NBC and Comcast, the major cable provider that purchased a majority stake in NBC earlier this year for over $15 billion from General Electric.
The deal comes a little more than two months after NBC signed a renewal for the roughly 1.4 million s/f it occupies at Rockefeller Center, where it has office space and production facilities for news shows like Today.
The network is said to be in talks to take four or five floors in 1221 Avenue of the Americas, including the 29th, 30th, 31st, 32nd, and possibly 33rd floors, according to knowledgeable sources. The floors, which are about 50,000 s/f each, will create a base for Comcast and NBC executives to integrate operations and cultures, rather than having either group move into the other’s turf, a source said.
1221 Avenue of the Americas appeared as if it had been dealt a setback last year when the French financial company Société Générale, which was one of the building’s biggest tenants, made the surprise decision to leave for 245 Park Avenue rather than renew its expiring lease. Now the roughly 400,000 s/f of space that Société Générale left behind in the building’s base has drawn a number of interested takers in recent months, at a time when the market for big blocks in midtown, as well as their rents, has begun to heat up.
UBS, the Swiss bank, which is shopping around midtown with a large space requirement, has been eyeing the 400,000 s/f space in the base. Like NBC, which has its headquarters nearby, UBS is said to be considering 1221 Avenue of the Americas in part because of its proximity to UBS’s New York headquarters at 1285 Avenue of the Americas.
1221 Avenue of the Americas is part of a distinctive row of large, boxy skyscrapers built by the Rockefeller Group on Sixth Avenue that made the thoroughfare one of Manhattan’s quintessential corporate corridors. The company, which developed the 52-story, 2.7 million s/f building in the early 1970s, still owns and operates the tower. Sources at the Rockefeller Group couldn’t be reached for comment.
Corporate communications contacts at both NBC and Comcast did not return calls seeking comment on the deal.
Scott Panzer, a vice chairman of Jones Lang LaSalle, who represented NBC in its big renewal deal and at 1221 Avenue of the Americas, declined to comment.