Tech Moves: Advertising Firm Signs 5-Year Deal at Former NY Times HQ in Times Square

As rents rise in Midtown South and flexible office arrangements become harder to come by, an increasing number of technology companies are looking north: Felix/CityGrid Media is the latest to head back across 34th Street.

Another tech company is headed north to Times Square: Felix/CityGrid Media, an advertising firm and division of IAC Media, has announced that it will relocate from its 5000-square-foot space in Chelsea Market to the former New York Times headquarters building at 229 West 43rd Street. The company will take 26,000 square feet on the tower’s sixth floor in a five-year lease.

CityGrid is an online, performance-based advertising company that, in 2012, acquired Felix, a pay-per-call advertising business that listens to customer telephone calls and determines which are most profitable. With over 85 employees, it earned nearly $30 million in revenue in 2012. CityGrid is headquartered in West Hollywood and is a division of IAC; it operates Urbanspoon and Citysearch and connects web and mobile publishers with local advertising organizations through its own local content and advertising platform.

The company’s new space will feature a full kitchen, new furniture and furnishings, and a 5000-square-foot useable terrace that overlooks Times Square. “Felix/CityGrid Media had outgrown its existing offices and was looking to expand by moving to space in Midtown South,” a representative said in a press release. “[The owner] Equity Office Properties was so cooperative and initial negotiations went so smoothly that the tenant chose instead to relocate to 229 West 43rd Street. Felix/CityGrid Media wound up leasing the suite the building owner had created to market the property. This was also the first lease completed at the newly renovated building, which was previously occupied by The New York Times. IAC appreciated the potential to expand other divisions of the firm within this iconic property.”

As we noted at the end of last year when 10gen, a software company, announced it was relocating from 568 Broadway, the 18-story, 767,000-square-foot former New York Times building has been making a strong push over the past year for tech sector tenants. In addition to comprehensive renovations, Equity Office Properties also added a basketball court to try and attract younger companies. The building – with its high ceilings and large, open floor plates – is prime for those types of tenants. And the landlord’s flexibility in terms of accommodating their needs for future expansion given the inherent volatility of the technology sector generally has also been key.

Back in 2004, the New York Times Company sold 229 West 23rd Street to Tishman Speyer for $175 million. Tishman sold it to Africa Israel Investments in 2007 for $525 million. The building was built in three stages between 1912 and 1937. It was originally designed by Buchman & Fox and features a 5-story, French Renaissance-style setback attic level with a Mansard roof.

About Stephen Del Percio

Stephen Del Percio has written for gbNYC+ since 2006 and currently serves as in-house counsel for one of the world's largest engineering, construction, and technical services companies. He earned a B.Eng. from Columbia, his J.D. at William & Mary, and lives in New York City with his wife and daughter. You can follow Stephen on Twitter, email him at stephen@gbNYC.com, or join gbNYC on Facebook to continue the conversation.

about gbNYC

gbNYC is a multi-disciplinary consulting and real estate services firm. In addition to representing office tenants and commercial buyers in leasing and acquisitions, we also provide innovative consulting solutions from a unique, green building perspective. We advise on green building financial incentives, comment on proposed green building marketing strategies, author white papers, treatises, and market analyses, organize seminars on the LEED process and professional accreditation, and provide advice and analysis on green building risk management and the overall state of green real estate, leasing, and construction, in New York City and beyond.

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