What's Going to Happen to Time Inc.'s Fancy New Office?

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Time Inc.'s downtown Manhattan office

New owner Meredith wants to combine offices, but Time Inc.'s lease doesn't expire until 2032.

Much was made of Time Inc.'s recent decision to bid adieu to the company's Midtown Manhattan headquarters after more than 50 years and occupy 700,000 square feet in the Brookfield Place building in downtown Manhattan, a stone's throw away from rival Condé Nast's One World Trade Center office.

That move was only completed about two years ago, and the company planted its flag firmly by signing a lease on the space that runs until 2032.

Well, things change in media really quickly these days, and it appears that those Time Inc. employees might be heading back up to Midtown.

On Sunday, it was announced that Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith Corporation has agreed to purchase Time Inc. Asked on a call with analysts on Monday morning about Time Inc.'s new office, Meredith president Tom Harty said the company sees office space as a potential source of some of the $400 million to $500 million in cost savings anticipated by the move.

"From a space perspective as well, we'll have the opportunity to combine facilities," Harty said. "We have a very attractive, under-market (if you will) lease in Midtown, where ... we currently occupy. So we think we've got some great profit opportunities there as well."

Asked whether Time Inc. and Meredith can get out of the lease, which runs for another 15 years, a spokesman for Brookfield Properties said simply: "Time Inc. has a long-term lease at Brookfield Place." 

In addition to the company's downtown headquarters, Time Inc. has an operation called The Foundry in the Industry City neighborhood of Brooklyn. The future of that office is also likely in question once Meredith takes over the company.

Despite Harty's comments on Monday, a spokesman for Meredith said the company is not in a position to discuss lease options at this time.

It's possible that Time Inc. could sublease part of its Brookfield Place office, which is said to feature an ample supply of empty desks. 

Time Inc. employees are nonplussed about the possibility of moving back to Midtown and shacking up with their Meredith colleagues. "Some people have joked they'd prefer Des Moines over Midtown," one employee said.

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