WarnerMedia Plans to Sell CNN Center in Atlanta – Variety

WarnerMedia plans to sell its venerable CNN Center, the former hub of its flagship cable news network, as more media companies seek to divest themselves of long-standing real estate assets as they navigate through a challenging operating environment.

In a note sent to Atlanta employees Monday, WarnerMedia’s chief financial officer Pascal Desroches said the company had been considering what to do with its Atlanta CNN center even before AT&T acquired it in 2018, but suspended those discussions. . “Now that we have had time to evaluate more, we have concluded that the best course of action is to sell the CNN Center.”

Still, some employees will likely remain in those offices for some time. A person familiar with the matter indicated that the company could lease the facility to any buyer for a period of five years.

Other large media conglomerates have worked to find new ways to monetize the properties they have been identified with for years. ViacomCBS has put Black Rock, a New York facility that has served as the headquarters of the CBS television network since the 1960s, on the block. In 2018, CBS sold its venerable Television City production facility in a bid to raise funds that it could subsequently invest in creating more content for video streaming audiences. Fox Corporation has tried to take advantage of its property from its 1.8 million square feet of construction space that housed the legendary 20th Century Fox movie studio.

“Downtown Atlanta has seen a huge investment and is fast becoming an entertainment destination,” said Desroches. “The CNN Center is of great value to a third party that specializes in such developments.”

But the installation also has a lot of sentimental value and is a symbol of the company’s history. CNN, which launched in 1980 from a former country club on the city’s Techwood Drive, moved into the building seven years later. Before the news operation arrived, the facility housed an ice skating rink, a movie theater, and even an indoor amusement park inspired by the creations of Sid & Marty Krofft.

The fate of CNN’s Atlanta operations has been a question mark in recent years. CNN in 2014 moved many of its Atlanta-based presenters and news staff to Washington DC and New York. The company’s HLN cable network continues to resist since the installation, as have some of the operations related to CNN Newsource, a service for affiliates and stations, and CNN en Español and CNN International.

The WarnerMedia executive said the company intended to maintain a presence in the southern city. “This move should in no way suggest that WarnerMedia is less committed to Atlanta. After the sale of the CNN Center, we plan to centralize the majority of our employees on the Techwood campus. This process will take several years, so we do not expect any immediate change for the employees who work at the CNN Center, “said Desroches. “Like the Hudson Yards in Manhattan and the announcement of a new Los Angeles office space at Ivy Station, we believe the long-term benefit of being in one location will be a more collaborative workforce.”

Protesters in late May got on and smashed a giant red CNN logo outside the building. CNN had the sign repaired in a few days.