By: Joe Strupp
After 66 years in its landmark Rockefeller Center world headquarters, The Associated Press this weekend begins a three-week move from its midtown Manhattan location to a 16-story building on the city?s west side, at 450 W. 33rd St, AP officials confirmed Friday.
The move will consolidate AP’s 950-person New York staff at a single location, rather than in two buildings in Rockefeller Center and two more elsewhere in Manhattan. The new headquarters, constructed in 1967, is a squat pyramid with views of the Hudson River to the west. Other tenants include the New York Daily News, U.S. News & World Report, and public broadcasting station WNET-TV.
“We’ve had many happy years at Rockefeller Center, but we’re excited to be moving to a newsroom that pulls all of AP’s news departments together on one big floor,” Kathleen Carroll, senior vice president and executive editor, said in a statement. “The newsroom was designed by journalists to be collaborative, energetic and creative, a great showcase for an international news organization in the 21st century.”
AP will lease a total of 290,773 square feet at the new site, on West 33rd Street. The AP’s four New York offices, including Rockefeller Center, totaled about 207,000 square feet. Terms of the new lease weren’t made public.
The switch marks the first of three weekend moves, starting with national and sports editors who will arrive at 7 a.m. Saturday to open the new space, stretching for two blocks south along Tenth Avenue, two blocks west of Madison Square Garden. All employees should be moved into the new location by Aug. 2.
The location becomes the sixth Manhattan address for the AP, and its first since moving into The Associated Press Building at 50 Rockefeller Plaza in 1938. The news cooperative’s first office opened in lower Manhattan in 1848, a small space up 78 stairs at 150 Broadway, about a block away from the then-future home of the World Trade Center.
“50 Rock,” as it was known to thousands of AP employees, was the place where the news service swapped typewriters and keypunch operators for new technology. That was where AP launched the first news agency sports wire, entered the digital age, sped up story and photo transmission, broadened its investigative and enterprise reporting, and launched numerous other initiatives.
But the Rockefeller Center building became inadequate for housing all of the AP’s operations and meeting its technology needs, officials said. It also kept news departments too separate, hindering work. With its lease expiring, the AP took the opportunity to move to a newer building, with lower rent, that will put all its news divisions in a newsroom the size of two football fields.