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Home » Officer Columns » AFM New York Office Plans for Move in 2019

AFM New York Office Plans for Move in 2019

  -  AFM International Secretary-Treasurer

As many of you know, the deal to fulfill the AFM dream of owning a floor in a building in lower Manhattan to house our AFM headquarters fell through at the eleventh hour. Down to one last negotiation point, the seller made the purchase contingent on our buying two floors instead of one. This was not possible as a two-floor purchase was not in our price range and we simply did not need that much space. Since there was no other property for sale that met our space requirement and price point, we began looking at spaces to rent.

With our lease expiring, we need to vacate our current space. Our current landlord has made an attractive offer for space in our present building (1501 Broadway) on the ninth floor. (We currently occupy space on the sixth floor.) We have come to a meeting of the minds on the term sheet and are in the final stages of the lease negotiation. The lease under consideration has a term of 15 years and six months with an escape opportunity at 10 years.

The building at 1501 Broadway has a colorful and interesting musical history. Completed in 1927, it is better known as the Paramount Building because it served as the New York headquarters for Paramount Pictures. The building contained the 3,664-seat Paramount Theatre (opened 1926), which housed a large theater organ made by the Wurlitzer Company. Initially, the organ was used to accompany silent films.

paramount pictures

In addition to films, the venue began hosting live music during the big band era. Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Harry James, Fred Waring, Xavier Cugat, Guy Lombardo, and many others played the Paramount Theatre. Comedians Jack Benny, Dean Martin, and Jerry Lewis performed as well. A few of you may actually remember the moment when Benny introduced a young Frank Sinatra at the Paramount to screaming, adoring fans. The adulation and screams took Benny totally by surprise because he had never heard of Sinatra. It created quite a sensation. In later years, Buddy Holly and the Crickets performed “Peggy Sue” at the Paramount.

Eventually, the theater was turned into retail and office space, which at the time housed The New York Times. The organ, along with its 36 ranks of pipes, was moved to a Wichita, Kansas convention hall. Today the old lobby of the Paramount Theatre houses the Hard Rock Café.

Recently the office building entrance was moved from Broadway, around the corner, to West 43rd Street. An old Paramount marquee was restored and placed atop the new entrance and an old but beautiful stained glass Paramount Pictures logo (pictured) was found in storage. It can now be seen while riding down the escalator when exiting the building.

The AFM has been in our current space for more than 30 years, so moving will be a challenge. We anticipate it will happen sometime during the first quarter of 2019. We hope to make the transition as smooth as possible. That said, there are bound to be some unexpected hiccups with such a massive move. We hope you will be understanding, if this happens.

Once we are settled in the new space, I hope those of you who find yourself in New York City will stop by for a visit. This is your “new home.” If my schedule permits, it will be my pleasure to give you a personal tour of the new office.