Jazz, as many of its aficionados like to say, is all about collaboration.
So when the well-known performance venue Jazz at Lincoln Center recently turned an eye to its office lease, it didn’t forget that central tenet of the music it champions and hosts nightly in the large performance hall it developed in recent years on Columbus Circle.
The organization occupies about 30,000 square feet of office space at 33 West 60th Street, a building just a few doors down the street from its large performance hall in the Time Warner Center. The space is set to expire later this year, but although the not-for-profit didn’t need more space and loved both the landlord and location, its executives knew nonetheless that something just wasn’t right.
“We had grown to the point where were spread out on four floors,” said Gordon Davis, a lawyer and longtime figure in the organization who is on its board and was charged with helping to oversee its real estate. “When you’re on multiple floors it has a silo effect. Let’s just say it definitely doesn’t encourage the kind of collaboration you see between the musicians we have performing at the center.”
Because its performance venue at Time Warner Center is primarily used for events and shows, Jazz at Lincoln Center uses its office space to house almost all of its staff, which has grown considerably over the past decade as the organization has blossomed into a $40 million a year non-profit. Mr. Davis said that the organization knew from the start of its search that it wanted to remain close to its landmark performance venue.
The space, which is in the northern annex of the Time Warner Center, was built as part of that twin-towered complex’s construction in the early 2000s. Jazz at Lincoln Center owns its portion of the space as a condo interest in the building and spent around $160 million to outfit it into a stat of the art performance hall. The venue is where it hosts its program of jazz performances and is also the centerpiece of its fundraising efforts, both as a place to hold funding campaigns and through the revenue the center generates through ticket sales and by renting out its spaces for a slate of corporate events.