WNET Looks to Go Dark at 450 West 33rd Street
Dana Rubinstein Oct. 6, 2009, 12:19 p.m.
Channel 13 has hired a broker to dispose of its cavernous offices on the far West Side, and to find it new offices that measure roughly half the size of the old ones.
Right now, Channel 13, also known as WNET, produces public TV like Worldfocus and Bill Moyers Journal in its 200,000-square-foot studios and offices within the 1.6 million–square–foot media megalopolis at 450 West 33rd Street, the building that Broadway Partners bought for an astonishing $664 million in 2007. (The now struggling Broadway Partners later tried to unload the building, to no avail.)
The eyesore of a structure is also home to the Daily News, the Associated Press, and U.S. News & World Report.
To implement its real estate strategy, WNET has hired Studley’s kindly executive vice president, Ira Schuman, who is marketing the 200,000 square feet at an asking rent in the mid-$30s per square foot, and searching for new offices of about 100,000 square feet in size.
Why the new real estate strategy?
“With the economic downturn, they have less people, so, a, they need less space,” Mr. Schuman said. “B, there have been some technological changes at WNET, and they need different studios. As a matter of fact, they just established a new [about 5,000-square-foot] studio in Lincoln Center. That gives them some capacity that they don’t need to have at 33rd Street.”
“And, c, the space is now more than 10 years old, and they would now like to upgrade it.”
WNET’s existing lease expires in 2018. Mr. Schuman said that WNET is open to dividing the space.
“If the right deal presents itself to lease half the space, we will do that,” Mr. Schuman said. “If the right deal presents itself to lease all of the space, we will be just as happy to do that, because that gives us the opportunity to start all over again.”