Disney/Fox deal could lead to real estate shakeup in NYC

Rumors are circulating about potential sale of ABC campus on the UWS

From left: 77 West 66th Street, Mickey Mouse (credit: Disney) and 1211 Sixth Avenue
From left: 77 West 66th Street, Mickey Mouse (credit: Disney) and 1211 Sixth Avenue

The Walt Disney Company’s $52.4 billion deal to buy most of 21st Century Fox could have big implications for the companies’ real estate in New York City, sources said.

The Los Angeles-based Disney owns ABC, which is headquartered on an Upper West Side campus centered around West 66th Street that the company moved into in the 1980s.

When Disney acquired ABC in 1995 for $19 billion, rumors started to circulate that the West Coast company would put the campus up for sale. Disney never sold, but those rumors have started to pop up again in the wake of the Fox deal.

“It would make sense that ABC or Disney would theoretically be receptive to offers, given the value of that site,” said Gabe Marans, corporate managing director at Savills Studley.

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Gary Barnett’s Extell Development and Megalith Capital are building a 25-story condo tower across from ABC’s headquarters with the help of $55 million worth of air rights the partners bought from Disney.

Disney also owns Marvel Entertainment, which occupies 60,000 square feet at 135 West 50th Street in Midtown on a sublease with Alliance Bernstein that expires in 2019.

21st Century Fox, meanwhile, extended and expanded its space to 784,000 square feet through 2025 at the NewsCorp. Building a 1211 Sixth Avenue earlier this year after abandoning plans to relocate downtown as the anchor to Silverstein Properties’ 2 World Trade Center. The deal on Sixth Avenue included an extra 128,000 square feet to make way for Fox employees to relocate from nearby at 1185 Sixth Avenue.

Over on the West Coast, Disney will be leasing Fox’s 2.3 million-square-foot Century City lot for seven years, Variety reported. The property is valued at north of $1.5 billion. Disney already owns a 51-acre campus for its studios in Burbank.