Tough Times at the Times: staff space gets pinched

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That 39% decline in profits last quarter, coming after a string of bad news quarters and disastrous decline in its stock price, has finally started to hit the New York Times where it lives: in its new offices, which are about to become a lot more cramped than planned.

The Times is building a brand new glamorous high tech skyscraper headquarters in New York's Midtown. Designed by the au courant architect Renzo Piano, I call it the Pinch Mahal. The company used eminent domain to evict 55 businesses from some of the needed land, bought Port Authority land at a steep discount, and got ample tax breaks.

The plan was for the NYT to occupy the first 29 floors. But today comes news that five of those floors will be taken away and rented out, at an estimated $85 per square foot, which would make it in the top tier of commercial office space rentals in America.

The floors to be rented out, curiously enough, are the 23rd through the 27th floors. This means that floors 28 and 29 will separated from the rest of the operation. Could they possibly be the executive floors? Will Pinch increase the distance between his own digs and those of the plebes? It is, after all, quite common for the bosses to grab the top floors.

It also means that either there will fewer worker bees at the Times, or that there will be a lot more elbows bumping into each other. Or maybe both.

That tightening belt is beginning to Pinch. It would be a great symbolic move if Pinch gave up his private office and moved to a desk in the City Room. But I bet that Pinch won't get pinched.

Thomas Lifson   10 31 06

That 39% decline in profits last quarter, coming after a string of bad news quarters and disastrous decline in its stock price, has finally started to hit the New York Times where it lives: in its new offices, which are about to become a lot more cramped than planned.

The Times is building a brand new glamorous high tech skyscraper headquarters in New York's Midtown. Designed by the au courant architect Renzo Piano, I call it the Pinch Mahal. The company used eminent domain to evict 55 businesses from some of the needed land, bought Port Authority land at a steep discount, and got ample tax breaks.

The plan was for the NYT to occupy the first 29 floors. But today comes news that five of those floors will be taken away and rented out, at an estimated $85 per square foot, which would make it in the top tier of commercial office space rentals in America.

The floors to be rented out, curiously enough, are the 23rd through the 27th floors. This means that floors 28 and 29 will separated from the rest of the operation. Could they possibly be the executive floors? Will Pinch increase the distance between his own digs and those of the plebes? It is, after all, quite common for the bosses to grab the top floors.

It also means that either there will fewer worker bees at the Times, or that there will be a lot more elbows bumping into each other. Or maybe both.

That tightening belt is beginning to Pinch. It would be a great symbolic move if Pinch gave up his private office and moved to a desk in the City Room. But I bet that Pinch won't get pinched.

Thomas Lifson   10 31 06