The price is right? CBS asking more than $1B for Sixth Ave HQ

Company looking to sell famed Black Rock tower following massive merger with Viacom

The Black Rock bulding at 51 West 52nd Street and Viacom CEO Bob Bakish (Credit: Google Maps, Getty Images)
The Black Rock bulding at 51 West 52nd Street and Viacom CEO Bob Bakish (Credit: Google Maps, Getty Images)

CBS is looking to get north of $1 billion for its Eero Saarinen-designed headquarters building on Sixth Avenue, aptly nicknamed Black Rock.

The broadcaster, which merged with Viacom late last year in a $25 billion deal, announced in December that the company would look to sell the 52-story black granite skyscraper at 51 West 52nd Street, but pricing expectations were not known at the time.

The marketing process for the tower recently kicked off, sources told The Real Deal, with ViacomCBS and its brokerage team at CBRE eyeing a figure in excess of $1 billion. At $1 billion, the price would work out to roughly $1,150 per square foot.

“We anticipate the sale to close in 2020 and we expect to use the proceeds from this transaction for a mix of debt reduction and opportunistic share repurchases,” said Christina Spade, ViacomCBS’ chief financial officer, on the firm’s earnings call last week.

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A spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the pricing. A representative for CBRE declined to comment.

CBS has called the modernist skyscraper home since the building opened in the mid 1960s. The company had weighed selling the tower in the past, such as when Viacom first acquired CBS in 2000.

CBS occupies about a third of the approximately 870,000-square-foot building. Other tenants include the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, which in 2018 renewed its lease for 250,000 square feet.

Contact Rich Bockmann at rb@therealdeal.com or 212-673-5081