NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises is building a massive new headquarters in West Miami-Dade to bring together several of the company’s divisions, offices and production operations.
Executives announced at a news conference Tuesday that the Telemundo Network, Telemundo Studios, Telemundo International, the cable network NBC Universo and all of the company’s digital media operations will relocate from their current locales in Hialeah, Medley, Miami Springs and Coral Gables to a build-to-suit, 450,000-square-foot facility at 12200 NW 25th St. in the Beacon Lakes district just west of the Florida Turnpike and the Ikea store at Dolphin Mall.
The building, which will include an additional 100,000 square feet of warehouse space, will cost an estimated $250 million, one of the largest investments in a broadcast facility in South Florida history.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
“We looked at possible locations around the entire country before we settled on this one, because it’s a very big decision and we had to make sure it was the right long-term choice for our business,” said Cesar Conde, chairman of NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises and NBCUniversal International Group.
“Telemundo Enterprises has a long history of being in South Florida: We’ve grown with it and we’ve grown because of it,” he said. “Miami boasts the talent and capacity to be a thought leader in the arena of media. But over many years, the city has also created a community of very talented creators and programmers and talent in front and behind the camera. Those two dynamics allow us to be successful. I can’t think of a better time to make this investment and help build on Telemundo’s momentum.”
Russell Benford, deputy mayor of Miami-Dade County, said the facility, when completed, would add 150 new jobs with an average salary of $89,000.
“Telemundo is the largest employer and producer of Spanish-language content in the state of Florida,” Benford said. “This company’s commitment to Miami-Dade County is viable to the continued economic growth and diversification of our community.”
Telemundo has been riding a streak of high ratings, using the success of its “super series” — ongoing telenovelas with fewer episodes, higher production values and new seasons each year, almost all of them shot in Miami — to edge out Univision. On Jan. 25, the 9 p.m. finale of Bajo el mismo cielo (Under the Same Sky), a drama about an illegal Mexican immigrant living in the U.S., averaged 1.2 million adults ages 18-49, according to Nielsen. In Miami, the show came in at No. 1 among total viewers regardless of language.
“For the last three years, Telemundo has been the fastest-growing network in the country,” said David L. Cohen, senior executive vice president of Comcast Corp., which acquired NBCUniversal in 2013 for $16.7 billion and has invested heavily in Telemundo. The network currently reaches 94 percent of Hispanic TV households.
“We see the value in this investment and had no reason to pull up Telemundo’s roots from Miami,” Cohen said. “They’ve had a great, storied tradition in South Florida. It’s the ideal location for the network and our employees.”
Telemundo claims that the construction of the building, which will include state-of-the-art TV production soundstages, is expected to create 3,000 jobs and generate an estimated $400 million in sales for Florida businesses.
The new facility, which will house between 1,100 to 1,300 employees, will be completed in early 2018 — just in time for Telemundo’s first broadcast of the FIFA World Cup in the summer. Telemundo outbid its chief rival, Univision, for broadcast rights last year, paying $600 million to air the event in 2018, 2022 and 2026.
Telemundo will continue to produce programming from its 30-year home in Medley, such as the currently filming Eva la trailera (Eva the Truck Driver), until the new building is completed.
The network’s commitment to Miami is good news for the local film industry, which is lobbying the Florida Legislature to replenish the state’s depleted film tax incentive funds before the end of this year’s session on March 11.
”A lot of people who start out working with Telemundo go on to work on bigger shows such as Bloodline and Ballers,” said Graham Winick, film and event production manager for the city of Miami Beach. “And Telemundo regularly shoots on location in Miami Beach. They use mansions as settings for telenovelas, and there are specific office spaces they are fond of. Because of the high volume of the shows they make, sometimes practicality outweighs creative decisions. And Univision licenses shows from various producers so they don't have a great deal of ownership. Telemundo has built up a huge library of content, which will continue to grow in value over the years as telenovelas enter streaming media.”