ViacomCBS to sell legendary ‘Black Rock’ headquarters
Five days after the merger of CBS and Viacom closed, the combined ViacomCBS has decided to sell CBS’ famed New York headquarters known as “Black Rock.”
The black granite skyscraper, located at 51 West 52nd St. just steps from New York’s Museum of Modern Art, has served as CBS’ headquarters since it was completed in 1964.
The sale comes as the newly combined company, which owns Showtime, Nickelodeon, MTV and Paramount Studios, seeks to reduce fat in an effort to help it compete in the age of Netflix.
“Black Rock is not an asset we need to own and we believe that money would be put to better use elsewhere,” said ViacomCBS Chief Executive Officer Bob Bakish at the UBS Global TMT Summit in New York Monday.
ViacomCBS has hired the real estate investment firm CBRE Group to evaluate its entire roster of real estate holdings, including studios and the 36-story Black Rock building, Bakish said.
Aside from CBS, the Eero Saarinen building is home to brokerage firm Charles Schwab and the Nusr-Et Steakhouse, run by the flamboyant Turkish chef known as Salt Bae.
The only CBS employees at Black Rock work in its corporate and administrative divisions, as staffers for its news and sports units occupy studio space and offices on West 57th Street, blocks from the Hudson River. The digital business, CBS Interactive, is based in a mid-rise building on 28th Street near Madison Square Park.
Viacom’s corporate headquarters is just a few blocks away from CBS’ headquarters, at 44th Street and Broadway in the heart of Times Square.
In the coming months, top brass at both companies are expected to start reducing overlap in administrative and back-office positions to make good on promises leading up to the ViacomCBS merger that a marriage would lead to $500 million in cost savings.
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