Facebook, which is looking for New York office space to house an engineering unit, is considering a move into the old headquarters of the New York Times on West 43rd.

ny times building
Old NY Times headquarters
Photo: wikimedia
That’s a sure sign of the changing of the media guard. Will Times Square be renamed Facebook Square? Don't count on it. New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s company will eventually be the savior of the faltering New York Times Co. Though the Times is now a neighbor of the downmarket Port Authority Bus Terminal, the Times Square cache will be marketing gold to Bloomberg LLP.

Facebook is considering other Big Apple buildings. Tourist-packed midtown is not exactly a hot draw for the tech set, but Crain’s New York Business reports that the owners of the old NYTC building have added “some touches that are likely to earn points with the tech crowd and could compensate for the midtown location. There is now a basketball court where the publisher’s dining room used to be and the 12th floor terrace is now covered with astroturf to give it a more whimsical field.”

New York Times Co. chief “Pinch” Sulzberger moved the troops to a shiny new headquarters on nearby Eighth Ave between 40th and 41st in 2007, after selling the former headquarters for $175M to Tishman Speyer, which turned around and sold the property to Africa Israel Investments to a cool $525M. Feeling the global economic pinch, Sulzberger sold its new office space to W.P. Carey & Co. in 2009 for $225M, which was earmarked for debt reduction.

It’s been pretty much downhill since. With the advantage of 20/20 hindsight, Pinch should have remained in the old place.

The once mighty NYTC, which once owned TV stations, regional newspapers and a chunk of the American League’s best baseball team, Boston Red Sox, will soon be reduced to a single newspaper. That will happen when local interests put together a package to take the Boston Globe, which was purchased by the NYTC for $1.1B in 1993, off Sulzberger’s hands.

New York Magazine (May 26) ran a devastating behind-the-scenes account of life at the NYT, covering the palace intrigue that has developed with the rise of in influence of Sulzberger’s Mexican girlfriend and the award of the $24M golden parachute that was given to 28-year veteran and former CEO Janet Robinson.

A highlight of the piece: Pinch turned to Edelman for advice on how to give the heave-ho to Robinson. The firm told Pinch not to dawdle.
News Corp., which is headed by Rupert Murdoch, the anti-Pinch, also turned to Edelman in his hour of need during the hacking scandal in the U.K.

That says a lot about the power and savvy of the No. 1 independent PR firm.