NBC is currently exploring the possibility of leasing out part of its longtime headquarters in Washington, D.C., to an outside organization, according to sources familiar with the situation.
One possible partner? American University.
The longtime home of NBC News, MSNBC, and WRC-TV Channel 4—NBC’s owned and operated station in D.C.—is located on Nebraska Avenue, a short walk from the university’s bucolic campus in Northwest Washington.
What American University would do with space in the building remains unclear. But the university’s School of Communication, which offers graduate and undergraduate degrees to hundreds of students, is currently undergoing a $20 million renovation that will eventually modernize and expand its journalism facilities. In the meantime, the school remains under construction.
If the two institutions strike an agreement, NBC is expected to maintain much of the ample space at its sprawling compound. And, presumably, bringing in a roommate would help NBC pay for some of the much-needed upgrades on a facility that predates HD technology by many, many decades.
Earlier this year, a number of employees at the bureau accepted buyout offers from NBC. As a result, the overall size of the staff working out of the D.C. offices has dwindled, freeing up even more room in a building that was never particularly cramped to begin with.
NBC News is not alone is reconsidering its physical footprint in Washington. In recent years, ABC News has significantly reduced the size of its Washington bureau on DeSales Street NW transfering the bulk of its Nightline staff up to New York City and moving This Week with George Stephanopoulos into a studio at the Newseum.
Sources say that efforts have already begun within NBC’s three-story building to consolidate the network’s operations there—which in addition to studios for
The Chris Matthews Show and Meet the Press also houses the studio, transmitter, and newsroom for WRC-TV.
Recently, WRC-TV (which technically owns the building) began work on modernizing its facilities there. Management recently told the local NBC staffers that the corporate executives were considering various options for the future of the building, ranging from a possible sale to the leasing out of space.
“We’re always interested in exploring options to improve our facilities, not only in Washington DC, but also across the country and around the globe,” said an NBC corporate spokesperson in a statement to The Observer. “However, at this point, there is nothing to announce.”