When Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred took over last year, one of his first priorities was to speed up the game. Going into his second year, the focus seems to have shifted to bringing some of the league’s offices under the same roof.
MLB is nearing a deal to relocate the commissioner’s office and some of its Web operations to the 1.9-million-square-foot Time & Life Building at 1271 Avenue of the Americas, sources familiar with the negotiations told Commercial Observer.
The league is eyeing about 500,000 square feet in the office building between West 50th and West 51st Streets, one source in the know said. Offices would be on the fourth through 15th floors of the 48-story building, which is owned by the Rockefeller Group.
Securing MLB would mark a new anchor tenant for the 57-year-old building. The property will soon be almost fully vacant following the departure of long-time tenant Time Inc. and the planned exit of New York Mets broadcaster SNY, which currently leases 39,000 square feet of office and studio space. Developer Sterling Equities, which owns SNY, announced in November that its offices and the cable station would move to 4 World Trade Center in early 2017. Most existing leases at 1271 Avenue of the Americas expire at the end of 2017 and the start of 2018, according to CoStar Group.
A Rockefeller Group spokesman declined to comment on the potential deal with the league, saying, “We wouldn’t comment on tenants in the market.” He did say, however, that Rockefeller is planning a soup-to-nuts renovation of the building starting this year. The work is estimated to cost $300 million, he added.
“We’ve had more eyeballs than we can count looking at the space,” the spokesman said.
A CBRE team lead by New York tri-state region Chief Executive Officer Mary Ann Tighe has been marketing the building. A spokesman for the brokerage declined to comment. It wasn’t immediately clear who is representing MLB. A league spokesman declined to comment on the move.
Should the deal go through, it will bring together two of MLB’s key operations under the same roof, a source said.
Mr. Manfred’s offices are currently in about 220,565 square feet at Brookfield Property Partners’ 245 Park Avenue between East 46th and East 47th Streets in a lease that runs through 2022. MLB has been based since 2007, according to CoStar. A Brookfield spokeswoman declined to comment.
Major League Baseball Advanced Media, an MLB subsidiary that controls website operations for MLB.com and team websites, currently has offices at Jamestown‘s Chelsea Market at 75 Ninth Avenue. Media operations currently have 116,395 square feet on three floors, CoStar shows, and its lease runs through 2022. One source noted that media operations would be moving uptown, but it wasn’t immediately clear if the entire division would follow. A Jamestown spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.