If the walls could talk at 1211 Avenue of the Americas in Midtown Manhattan, they would assure you the office is not dead.

Demonstrating conviction in the importance of centrally located and high-quality office space in a post-pandemic environment, tenants Fox Corporation and News Corp, whose corporate headquarters when combined extend across 1.2 million square feet of the property, each signed an agreement in December to prolong their existing lease through at least 2042.

The leases’ financial terms have not been disclosed. However, according to local broker Metro Manhattan, asking rents at the building “hover” close to $90 per square foot, “roughly on par” with the average in the Midtown Manhattan area.

The combined size of the leases is significant. Property owner Ivanhoé Cambridge, the real estate subsidiary of Canadian pension fund manager Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, claims it was the largest last year and the largest in over three years in Manhattan. Fox and News Corp, which Ivanhoé says are among its largest tenants globally, will retain 670,000 square feet and 486,000 square feet of office space, respectively. Together, this represents more than half of the building’s approximately two million square feet of rentable real estate.

Star quality

At a glance, the monotonous, minimalist façade of the Class A tower suggests a bleak and uninspiring office interior. But that belies the range of operations inside, most famously the Fox News television studios, and the modern sustainability credentials earned by the LEED Gold-certified and Energy Star-designated building.

Completed in 1973 as part of the Rockefeller Center complex, renovated in 2016 and standing 44 stories tall on ‘Corporate Row,’ 1211 Avenue of the Americas is situated within walking distance of major transportation hubs including Grand Central Terminal, Port Authority Bus Terminal and Penn Station.

Proximity to these hubs and the centrality of its location have appealed to tenants, most notably media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who established the global headquarters of the original News Corporation – of which Fox and News Corp are spin-outs – at 1211 back in 1980.

Now the new leases are signed, plans to further evolve the space can get started. Under the lease extension agreements, Fox and News Corp will benefit from upgrades to the building, including new and renovated lobby areas, outdoor plazas and entrances.

If any industry can claim to have its finger on the pulse of today’s prevailing trends then it is surely the media. This decision from both Fox and News Corp to reside for at least another 20 years in their comfortable Midtown home sends a signal to the business world: working patterns may have changed, but the need for office space – and quality space at that – remains paramount.

1980 – Rupert Murdoch moves News Corporation HQ into 1211 Avenue of the Americas

Oct 2013 – Ivanhoé Cambridge acquires 51% interest in the building for over $850m

Jun 2016 – Ivanhoé buys remaining 49% interest with partner Callahan Capital Properties for $913m

Dec 2022 – Fox Corporation and News Corp extend leases through 2042

Late 2023 – Ivanhoé and its asset manager Hines to start building upgrades