NBC wavering on 30 Rock expansion

Media giant to remain at Tishman Speyer building

Tishman Speyer CEO Rob Speyer and 30 Rockefeller Plaza (iStock)
Tishman Speyer CEO Rob Speyer and 30 Rockefeller Plaza (iStock)

A big office lease at the iconic 30 Rockefeller Center is reportedly on shaky ground — and may have been scuttled already.

NBC’s plans to expand by 90,000 square feet at Midtown property appear to be off, people close to the deal told the Commercial Observer. One source cautioned the broadcast giant is still weighing the deal, which would cover vacant space in the Tishman Speyer property.

The skyscraper is best known for housing NBC and NBC Studios and serving as a backdrop for programs like 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live and NBC Nightly News.

But NBC is not immune to the pressures of the rise of remote work, even at a property near and dear to the company. One source told the Observer the company wants to see proof that workers will be coming back to the office before taking on additional space.

As office buildings left empty in the wake of the pandemic begin to lose value, employees across the country haven’t shown much interest in going back on remote work arrangements.

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A survey from jobs platform FlexJobs previously found that two-thirds of remote employees were reluctant to go back to the office. The New York Times found similar results in its own survey, which also identified workplace culture as a reason for the resistance to return. A Wall Street Journal analysis showed cities with shorter average commute times saw more office occupancy.

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JPMorgan Chase provided the most notable pivot to embracing those who want to work from home. After shrugging off workers’ reluctance to return, CEO Jamie Dimon acknowledged in an April earnings call that remote work is here to stay and announced adjusted policies of New York City’s largest commercial tenant, though the company is “moving full steam ahead” with its new headquarters at 270 Park Avenue.

Not every chief executive is as ready to open up the possibilities for where employees can clock in from. Elon Musk this week told employees at Tesla and SpaceX that remote work would no longer be acceptable and that he expected workers to spend 40 hours a week on site or find a different job.

[CO] — Holden Walter-Warner