Major League Baseball gives back 75K sf on Sixth Avenue

League’s corporate office gives back a floor from one of 2016’s largest deals

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred and Rockefeller Group CEO Atsushi Nakajima with 1271 Sixth Avenue
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred and Rockefeller Group CEO Atsushi Nakajima with 1271 Sixth Avenue

Major League Baseball, which inked one of 2016’s largest leases when it took 400,000 square feet at the Rockefeller Group’s 1271 Sixth Avenue late last year, has scaled back its footprint in the building, sources told The Real Deal.

MLB gave back one of six floors it leased at the base of the 2.1 million-square-foot tower, or about 75,000 square feet, at some point after signing the blockbuster lease in October.

A spokesperson for Rockefeller declined to comment, and representatives for MLB were not immediately available.

It’s not clear why MLB decided to reduce its footprint. Late last year the company’s internet arm – MLB Advanced Media – sold a majority stake in its streaming-video division to ESPN parent company Walt Disney Company in a $1.58 billion deal, which may have impacted its space requirements.

Still, at roughly 325,000 square feet, MLB’s lease in the former Time & Life building stacks up as one of last year’s largest deals, and remains a significant deal for the canyon of corporate towers along Sixth Avenue, a corridor that is remaking itself as large tenants relocate to other areas of the city like Downtown and the Far West Side.

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The MLB deal helped boost Sixth Avenue to the Midtown’s busiest submarket of 2016. Rockefeller Group, like many landlords along the stretch, is repositioning the building to draw new tenants to fill those large available blocks.

The property owner has planned a $325 million renovation project on the 48-story tower between West 50th and West 51st streets across from Radio City Music Hall that will replace the building’s curtain wall to let more light in.

Earlier this year, Mizuho Americas, the U.S. arm of the Japanese investment bank, inked a deal for about 150,000 square feet in the building. The New York Times is subleasing roughly 160,000 square feet in the building in a short-term deal with Time Inc. while it overhauls its headquarters at 620 Eighth Avenue.

Major League Baseball is relocating and consolidating offices from HNA Group’s 245 Park Avenue and Jamestown’s Chelsea Market.