Time Warner Nearing Decision on Manhattan Headquarters

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The entertainment conglomerate is looking at leaving the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle for a new skyscraper on the far West Side.

Entertainment conglomerate Time Warner Inc. is moving closer to a possible deal to move its corporate headquarters in Manhattan from Columbus Circle to a long-gestating development farther West.

The company, led by chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes, has a tentative agreement, but has yet to sign a final deal, a source confirmed. Time Warner's board will discuss the proposed agreement at a regularly scheduled meeting later this month.

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The conglomerate has been exploring its real estate options for about two years in an effort to save money, while also consolidating the staff of its various operations. Most of its current New York leases are up in 2017.

Sources had previously told THR that TW may leave its current headquarters in what is known as the Time Warner Center for a building in the Hudson Yards development. But other options were also under consideration, including staying in its current locations and moving to the new development on the site of the former World Trade Center.

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The New York Times reported that the entertainment giant has now reached a tentative agreement to move into an 80-story skyscraper set to be built at the corner of 10th Avenue and 33rd Street as part of the Hudson Yards project.

If the deal is finalized, TW is expected to buy more than half the space in the 2.4-million-square-foot building, which is likely to be renamed Time Warner Center, the Times said. TW would move its executive floors to the tower as well as the offices for its HBO, Turner Networks, CNN and Warner Bros. units.

Financial details weren't immediately available. But the far West Side of Manhattan has featured less expensive real estate. Previous chatter was that TW could save as much as $100-million-plus by moving office space.

The conglomerate, which is planning to spin off its Time Inc. publishing business, currently has 10 buildings throughout Manhattan. 

Related Companies is the developer behind the 26-acre project, as well as the Time Warner Center. An investment group led by the developer is expected to pay TW around $1.3 billion for its current Time Warner Center space, with TW leasing it for five years or however long it takes for the new building to be completed.

For the developers, attracting big-name tenants like TW is also a coup. They have been working on developing the former railyards area from an industrial neighborhood into a new business, retail and housing hub.

The Hudson Yards complex will include two office towers, a mall, a cultural institution, a hotel, office space and residential and mixed-use space.

The Times said that Related has offered to sell the new office space at cost to get TW as an anchor tenant, hoping to make money from the retail and residential parts of the real estate development.

A TW spokesman declined to comment.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai