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Black Rock on block

Viacom eyes sale of CBS real estate

The on-again, off-again plan to sell CBS’ famed Black Rock headquarters may be on again.

The Eye net had put the Manhattan office tower on the block last year, hiring the Lazard Freres investment firm to hunt for buyers. But it pulled the property off the market after bids came in 25% below the almost $400 million CBS reportedly was hoping it would fetch.

Now, with CBS newly operating under corporate parent Viacom Inc., and some evidence that a higher sales price might be possible, Black Rock again is being reviewed for possible sale. Viacom recently retained real estate service firm Insignia/ESG.

Price factor

Officials were unavailable to estimate an asking price. But observers note an adjacent property at 1301 Avenue of the Americas recently sold for more than $400 a square foot, a valuation that would mean a pricetag of roughly $350 million for the 870,000-square-foot Black Rock.

The landmark property, built in 1965 and named for its dark exterior, joins a number of other real estate landmarks placed on the market as record-high Manhattan office rents push valuations skyward. Those include Rockefeller Center, the Chrysler Building, the Seagram Building and a master lease to the World Trade Center.

Viacom’s corporate offices are located in Times Square at 1515 Broadway. CBS occupies just under half of Black Rock and would continue as a tenant in the property if Viacom sells the building.

(Bloomberg News contributed to this report.)

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