Time Warner Prepares to Leave Time Warner Center… Eventually

By Alex Weprin Comment

Time Warner will likely leave its corporate headquarters at Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle over the next few years. While rumored for a long time, a profile of Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes by the New York TimesAmy Chozik sheds some light on the decision.

Time Warner, one of New York City’s largest commercial tenants, is now studying how to consolidate most of its four million square feet of office space. That probably means finding a new headquarters in a less expensive part of Manhattan and vacating the Time Warner Center, the Time & Life building at Rockefeller Center and many of its remaining 13 New York-area buildings. The company estimated that cutting back on its real estate footprint could save as much as $150 million a year.

The real estate moves are part of a larger effort to slim down a company that many investors say they believe became bloated during the acquisition frenzy of the last decade, when media companies raced to acquire expensive Internet companies.

One unanswered question (and a question that will likely remain unanswered for a few years) is what will happen to CNN’s growing New York newsroom and studios. The Columbus Circle locale is prime real estate, but most CNN shows are shot indoors and away from windows, so they don’t really take advantage of the location. In all likelihood, CNN and its newsroom and studios would go wherever Time Warner ends up moving to.