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ViacomCBS explores sale of the famous CBS ‘Black Rock’ headquarters in Manhattan

The CBS Building
The CBS Building, headquarters to CBS, was built in 1964 and designed by the architect Eero Saarinen who wanted to build “the simplest skyscraper in New York.”
(James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images)

ViacomCBS is exploring the sale of the historic CBS headquarters known as Black Rock in Midtown Manhattan.

ViacomCBS Chief Executive Bob Bakish revealed the plan Monday during his appearance at the UBS Global TMT Conference in New York.

Bakish said a Black Rock sale was one of a number of real estate transactions the company will look at with the recombination of Viacom and CBS that was finalized last week. Bakish said the proceeds from such sales would be used for stock repurchases.

Designed by Eero Saarinen, the stark black-windowed tower at the corner of West 52nd Street and Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan is one of the most well-known examples of urban mid-20th century architecture. CBS founder Bill Paley had an office on the top floor when it opened in 1965.

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Aside from having value for its prime Midtown location, the structure’s iconic status also makes it a trophy for any buyer.

Before CBS merged with Viacom, the company sold its longtime 25-acre Los Angeles facility known as Television City to real estate developer Hackman Capital Partners for $750 million. The proceeds from the 2018 sale were used to invest in content creation as streaming companies have stepped up the competition for talent and television projects.

AT&T sold Time Warner’s newly built space in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards in April. The telecommunications giant used the $2.2 billion from the transaction to pay down debt it incurred from its acquisition of the media company. AT&T’s renamed WarnerMedia unit now leases the property.


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