Post-Merger: A Look at Verizon and AOL's Real Estate
In the immediate aftermath of Verizon's $4.4B all-cash acquisition of AOL, talk focused on the mobile video ad technology the carrier would gain from the faded home internet progenitor. More recently, a debate has arisen between calling the deal a devastating blow against the cherished notion of content as valuable and those who argue it's a renewal of the big carriers' beliefe in the old saw that "content is king."
The more practical matter of real estate could also be in play depending on absorption methods. Here are a few of both company's key holdings, past and present.
375 Pearl Street, Manhattan
Widely considered among the ugliest buildings in New York (the Daily Telegraph ranked it the 20th ugliest in the world), this 32-story data center monolith nonetheless horns its way into countless photo-ops thanks to its setting at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge. Verizon in 2013 sold most of the eyesore to Seattle-based Sabey Data Center Properties, which announced a renovation of the top 15 floors.
50 Post Office Square, Boston
Verizon maintained only a modest presence here after a 2010 relocation and the building's $192M sale in 2008 to Richard Galvin and RE investment firm Bentall Kennedy. Back in 2013, Brown Brothers Harriman inked a 410K SF lease here, among the biggest in recent Boston memory.
395 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto
AOL leased its West Coast HQ from owner Google nearly five years ago when it consolidated from three Silicon Valley office buildings. The address is rife with tech industry history: in 1942 it served as Hewlett-Packard's first office located outside of a local garage. And even back then, the emphasis was on breaking down interior walls so as to let creativity roam.
Former Verizon Office, NYC
140 West Street, Manhattan
Controversial landlord Ben Shaoul is converting this Financial District charmer to condos now that Verizon has moved most of its offices to Midtown. And not just any condos. The duplex penthouse will apparently list for $100M, an unheard of number...well, anywhere, but especially the Financial District. But will Shaoul treat ultraluxe tenants with a more delicate touch than his less affluent apartment dwellers?
Verizon Center, Washington DC
Cost: $382M (adjusted for inflation)
Verizon announced today that it would not renew its sponsorship of the NBA arena, home of the Wizards. Between a leaky roof, food vendors who struggled to meet health codes and gentrification concerns regarding the center's Chinatown neighborhood, the affiliation, started in 1997, hasn't been easy.
770 Broadway, Manhattan
AOL helped kick off Silicon Alley 2.0 in 2007 when it moved its HQ from Dulles, VA to not-far-from-Broadway in Manhattan's East Village. The ground floor is unglamorously occupied by Kmart. But last year Facebook moved in, building a tech-media concentration that also includes tenants like HuffPo, Tech Crunch and the Hollywood Reporter.