Leases  ·  Office

MLB Knocks Lease at 1271 Avenue of the Americas Out of the Park


While it might come as a surprise that the Cleveland Indians are going to the World Series, it’s not all that shocking that Major League Baseball has officially crossed home plate at 1271 Avenue of the Americas.

The league is expected to sign a lease with the Rockefeller Group today to take roughly 400,000 square feet at the 48-story building between West 50th and West 51st Streets, according to a press release from the landlord.  

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“We are excited about the opportunity to create a singular headquarters environment that can best accommodate the workplace needs of our employees as we continue to build and enhance our organization for the future,” said MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred in prepared remarks. “Additionally, the building’s central location, access to transportation and existing amenities made this the right move for MLB.”

MLB will take six floors of space previously occupied by Time Inc., which occupied the building from its 1959 opening until the end of last year, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported news of the deal along with the The New York Post.

Today’s signing ends months of hammering out a final deal, which was first reported by Commercial Observer in January. At the time, the league was expected to take the fourth through 15 floors.

The move puts nearly all of baseball’s operations into a single location. Its headquarters will move from some 220,500 square feet at Brookfield Property Partners245 Park Avenue, where it has been based since 1999. Major League Baseball Advanced Media, the digital arm that runs, will vacate about more than 116,000 square feet at the Jamestown-owned Chelsea Market. The league’s New Jersey office is expected to stay where it is, the Post reported.

And although its lease is flying towards the fences, MLB will have to wait until 2018 to cross home plate and assume the space and won’t move in until 2019, according to the Rockefeller Group release. The deal also allows MLB to have exclusive access to the building’s eighth-floor terrace.  

That’s because the landlord has embarked on a $600 million renovation of the building, which will become completely vacant in the coming years. Rockefeller Group is doing a soup-to-nuts overhaul of the Midtown office building, including a new exterior as well as floor-to-ceiling windows.

“Major League Baseball is world renowned, representing the best-of-the-best in global sports, media, entertainment and technology services,” Daniel Rashin, Rockefeller Group’s co-president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “And 1271 is a dynamic building undergoing a significant transformation for the future—the two of them together make a world-class combination.”

CBRE (CBRE)’s Scott Gottlieb, Ken Meyerson, Chris Corrinet, Brendan Herlihy and Daniel Wilpon represented MLB in the deal. The roster for the landlord included: CBRE’s Mary Ann Tighe, Howard Fiddle, John Maher, Dave Caperna, Evan Haskell and Sarah Pontius along with Rockefeller Group’s Edward Guiltinan and Jennifer Stein in-house.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have our first major tenant at 1271 Avenue of the Americas be a world-renown organization like Major League Baseball, including their cutting-edge technology company, MLB Advanced Media,” Maher said in a statement via a spokeswoman. “This lease validates Rockefeller Group’s vision and investment into transforming this iconic asset in the heart of Midtown into a modern office building capable of meeting the requirements of 21st century tenants.”