AOL announced yesterday that the company is moving its corporate headquarters from a suburban campus in Dulles, Va. to 770 Broadway at Astor Place.
AOL spokesperson Anne Bentley said the move reflects a shift in AOL's priorities from its email, IM and internet access business focus to becoming a major player in the advertising industry.
“We’re putting the advertising network at the front and center now,” she said.
And they’re certainly spending freely on it. AOL will pay about $170 million over the next 15 years for its 152,000-square-foot spread on the fourth and fifth floors of the media-centric building in the Village. That’s $69 per square foot for the first five years of the lease, $74 for the next five and $79 for the last five, said a source familiar with the deal. They’ll move in next spring, said Ms. Bentley.
AOL’s gain also is The Nielsen Group’s loss. The Nielsen Group—formerly VNU—will pack up in the building’s fourth and fifth floors and head upstairs, where Billboard, Adweek and Hollywood Reporter employees will squeeze into the company’s five other floors.
AOL is sending its C.E.O. Randy Falco and its C.O.O. Ron Grant to 770 Broadway, along with about 400 employees who were located at the 177,641 square feet that AOL had at 75 Rockefeller Plaza, their other city location.
In addition to The Nielsen Group, Viacom is also located at 770 Broadway. The Staubach Company brokered this deal for AOL, ending a prolonged slump for the brokerage firm that hasn’t landed a deal of this size in over a year. The lead broker on the deal, Martin Horner, did not return a call for comment.