NEW YORK (AP) — The Associated Press plans to move its global headquarters from Manhattan’s far west side to a smaller, less-expensive space adjacent to the World Trade Center site, the news cooperative’s president said Wednesday.
The move, planned for early 2017, would bring the AP to 200 Liberty St, which is across the street from the Sept. 11 memorial in a waterfront neighborhood that has blossomed as the city has recovered from 9/11. At the time of the terror attacks, the building was known as One World Financial Center.
“We’re going to a better building in a better location for less money,” said Gary Pruitt, AP’s president and CEO.
He said the lease will be for at least 21 years, cementing the AP’s presence downtown for the long term.
The AP has had at least a dozen offices in New York since it was founded in 1846 by a group of newspapers that wanted to share the costs of covering the Mexican War. The new headquarters will stand just blocks from the AP’s first office at 83 Liberty St.
At about 172,000 square feet, the new space will be about 40 percent smaller than the AP’s current headquarters at 450 W. 33rd St., which it has occupied since 2004.
The AP had a lease for 291,000 square feet in that building through 2019 – far more than it needs based on the current size of its headquarters staff. Rent on those offices, now running at $15 million per year, was set to rise substantially in the years ahead amid the Hudson Yards project, a major remaking of the neighborhood from an industrial outpost to a new center for office and apartment towers.
Pruitt said the AP would have preferred to avoid the disruption and cost of a move but will wind up paying “a few million dollars” less for the new space than it pays in rent now.
“Those savings can be put toward our mission,” he said.
The AP had various offices in downtown Manhattan before moving to midtown in 1925.
From 1938 to 2004, the AP had its world headquarters in New York City’s Rockefeller Center, a glamorous and prestigious address but one that became excessively pricey during New York City’s economic boom.
When the AP moved into its current headquarters on 33rd Street, part of the motivation was a desire for more space. The AP had 950 employees working at the new headquarters when it opened in 2004.
A subsequent reorganization, however, slimmed down the central staff in favor of regional editing hubs in the U.S. and around the world. The AP also implemented a plan in 2010 to cut its worldwide payroll while trying to reduce fees for newspapers and broadcasters.
About 600 AP employees will make the move to the new offices, company spokesman Paul Colford said.
Both the AP’s new headquarters and its old one are owned by Brookfield Properties.
The new Liberty Street headquarters will be in a 40-story tower built as part of the Battery Park City development in the mid-1980s.
Falling debris from the World Trade Center smashed windows and covered the building with debris during the Sept. 11 attacks, but the skyscraper has since been fully restored.
The once-shattered district around the trade center site has experienced a remarkable rebirth since 2001 – progress interrupted only slightly when parts of lower Manhattan flooded during Superstorm Sandy.