MTV will reportedly vacate their famed Times Square studio when their lease is up at the end of the year, the New York Post reports today. MTV and parent company Viacom first opened the studio at 1515 Broadway in 1997, and the space with its windows overlooking Times Square famously served as the venue for MTV’s Total Request Live. However, when Viacom re-signed their lease to keep their offices at 1515 Broadway, they opted not to renew the studio space, the NY Post writes.
“We’re taking it back from MTV at end of year,” said Steven Durels of SL Green Leasing, who own the building. “We’re actively marketing it, and we think it will be the crowning touch of the retail development we’ve done since we bought the building.” The price of the space has risen exponentially since MTV first occupied the studio in 1997, when Times Square wasn’t quite the fluorescent tourist mecca it has become in the past decade. The Post reports that SL Green is asking for $450 per square foot of the studio, plus an additional $1,000 for the street level MTV store that will be included as a package deal for the soon-to-be-vacated space. In all, it’s a $11.6 million a year rent for the MTV studio and store.
While it’s hard to imagine Times Square without the MTV presence — it’s bad enough the Virgin Megastore recently closed there — to Viacom’s credit, it’s not like the MTV studio is a hotbed for activity and programming like it used to be, or at least not enough to warrant the $11.6 million price tag. TRL — which would often draw hundreds of screaming fans who flocked to the studio’s Times Square windows — was taken off the channel’s schedule to make room for more reality-based programming. In fact, the only times in recent memory that MTV actually made notable use of the studio is for New Year’s Eve specials and on the day Michael Jackson died, with the MTV News crew broadcasting live from Times Square.
The MTV studio will likely get one or two last hurrahs as the 2009 Video Music Awards invade New York’s Radio City Music Hall just north of the studios on September 13th. According to the Post, Viacom can still reclaim the studio if they want, but no overtures have been made on the company’s part.