Rockefeller Center, 30 Rockefeller Plaza | Commercial Real Estate NYC | Tishman Speyer


Properties / North America / NY, NJ, CT, MA / New York

Our platform at work

Tishman Speyer resurrected, transformed and restored a symbol of the 20th century into a thriving, profitable and sustainable 21st-century icon.

Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112

A deeper look at : Rockefeller Center

Tishman Speyer reinvigorated the fortunes of one of the most recognized commercial properties in the world through deft investment, management, redesign and renovation.

The Property

Defining Midtown Manhattan, Rockefeller Center encompasses six square blocks between Fifth Avenue and the Avenue of the Americas, from 48th to 51st Streets. The Center’s ten Art Deco buildings have a combined square footage of approximately 8.8 million square feet (8.2 million of office space and 0.6 million of retail space). This includes Radio City Music Hall, Christie’s Auction House, the world-famous skating rink, 100 retail stores, 40 dining venues and the broadcast studios of NBC. It is a true American icon known throughout the world.

Our Role

By the mid-1990s, Rockefeller Center, suffering from ineffective management and deteriorating property markets, fell into bankruptcy. Seeing this distress as a tremendous opportunity, Tishman Speyer led a partnership with four other prominent investors to acquire the Center in 1996, and immediately assumed full responsibility for the management and operation of the complex. Never again would there be a chance to obtain an iconic asset of this magnitude and restore it to its original glory. Immediately, we embarked on an ambitious redevelopment program to refurbish and revitalize the Center. In April 2001, together with one of our long-standing investment partners, Tishman Speyer bought out our original partners, creating a capital structure that remains in place today. The fundamentals of the Center—location, layout, architecture and aesthetic concept—are brilliant and irreplaceable. However, at the time Tishman Speyer took control, the property’s condition did not meet world-class commercial building standards and could not attract tenants that would pay a premium for office and retail space. We used its operating platform as a vertically integrated developer and manager to create value.

The Outcome

Tishman Speyer developed a master plan for the Center’s redesign that addressed every aspect of the complex, including office and retail leasing, operating efficiencies and capital expenditures. Executing the plan began with renovating the Center’s office space to top-of-the-market standards. For example, we are in the process of replacing all of the elevator cabs with new, state-of-the-art high-speed elevators. We have already revamped the Center’s entire security system and implemented features such as new electronic turnstiles and renovated electrical and HVAC systems on office floors. In tandem with the office improvements, Tishman Speyer worked in partnership with the New York City Landmarks Commission and Planning Department to redesign and enlarge retail storefronts to create attractive, highly desirable retail spaces for tenants while maintaining and enhancing the building’s original architecture to a standard befitting a world-renowned retail destination. The redevelopment of Rockefeller Center’s retail plan, completed in early 2000, established a vibrant retail environment within the complex—enhancing the shopping experience for tourists and adding a set of unparalleled amenities for office tenants. The main public areas within the concourse level were completely renovated using imported stone, custom bronze storefronts and new terrazzo marble flooring. The renovation resulted in new leases with high-level retail clients, including Anthropologie, Banana Republic, Coach, Michael Kors and J. Crew. To complement the retail at the Center, Tishman Speyer renovated the outdoor areas of Rockefeller Plaza. This renovation was geared to create an urban mall feel and used over $10 million of bluestone paving. The end result was a classically styled renovation using contemporary construction details and materials. In November 2005, Tishman Speyer, after a lengthy redevelopment effort, reopened the observation deck at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, which had been out of operation since 1986. The Top of the Rock observation deck was a $75 million construction project of 55,000 square feet spread over six floors, with retail and media components in the lobby and mezzanine of the building. Today, Top of the Rock is an accretive business for the property. It stands as the crowning achievement of the redevelopment of the Center and welcomes over 2 million visitors annually from around the globe. Rockefeller Center has now been returned to its rightful place and serves as a hub of commerce, culture and community. It has many of the world’s most exceptional companies and plays host to year-round events: public art installations, concerts and shows in Radio City Music Hall, private events in both indoor and outdoor spaces, daily live television broadcasts and the most famous Christmas tree in the world. As on-site manager, Tishman Speyer continually seeks ways to improve the Center’s profitability and operating efficiencies. Most recently, we embarked on a three-part “greening initiative” at the property. First was a program to upgrade the entire complex’s original windows from 1933 and replace them with high-performance, thermally insulated glass and metals to improve energy efficiency and reduce exterior noises. Second, the largest privately owned solar panel farm,* containing 341 solar panels, was installed atop 45 Rockefeller Plaza, and now powers the LCD lights on the annual Christmas tree in addition to other areas of the complex. The panels reduce energy consumption from the city grid by 5% during peak periods. Third, massive ice chillers were installed in the loading docks of the complex to use ice, as opposed to electricity, to cool the reactor that provides air conditioning to the buildings. As a consequence, electrical usage during peak summer cooling hours decreased significantly, resulting in major cost savings.


As a result of Tishman Speyer’s 12-year ownership and redevelopment of this beautiful landmark, Rockefeller Center has been meticulously preserved as an architectural treasure. At the same time, the top-to-bottom upgrade of the complex’s amenities has re-established the property as a first-class office facility and world-class retail center. With the vision and execution of superior management, a symbol of the 20th century has been resurrected and transformed into a thriving, profitable and sustainable 21st-century icon of urban life where people from all over the world congregate to conduct business, engage in recreational activities and embrace culture. Tishman Speyer resurrected, transformed and restored a symbol of the 20th century into a thriving, profitable and sustainable 21st-century icon.