WNET sheds half of its office space, much old equipment

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WNET.org has signed a lease for midtown Manhattan office space half the size of its present quarters near Penn Station, the licensee said Monday. Recession-driven staff reductions and the opening of a studio facility at Lincoln Center have reduced the licensee’s space needs to 100,000 square feet. After 13 years at 450 W. 33rd St., the operation is signing a lease for 15 years in the Worldwide Plaza Building at 8th Avenue and 50th Street. WNET said the space, to be designed by a+i design corp., will be “fully open plan, with no private office spaces.” The station’s technical side cleaned house with an equipment auction last week and netted $250,000, said spokesperson Kellie Specter. On the block were more than 400 pieces of video equipment, including non-HD cameras and other gear dating back to the station’s last move, down from West 57th Street, says Nick Liatsis, president of the Production People, a dealer in used equipment, which handled the sale along with Joseph Finn Co. auctioneers. More than 30 potential buyers walked through WNET’s technical area Aug. 3, while 40 participated via the Internet, Liatsis said. Lighting equipment and camera pedestals reliably hold their value, he observed.

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