Across the country, big newspaper publishers are selling real estate, including their own headquarters, to raise cash and gain room for maneuver amid a long-term secular decline in print advertising revenues.
This week brought the news that The Boston Globe is selling its offices in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood after almost six decades and moving back to downtown Boston.
The Globe is selling the 815,000-square-foot headquarters, situated on 16.5 acres not far from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, for an undisclosed sum to an unnamed buyer.
Executives can’t reveal any of the details because of a confidentiality agreement, but in 2009, the City of Boston assessed the property’s value at around $35 million. A number of redevelopment plans have already been proposed for the property, but a previous planned sale to developers Winstanley Enterprises was derailed last year by financing issues.
The newspaper’s editorial operations are returning to downtown Boston, which it left back in 1958, with a new lease for office space in the Exchange Place complex. Its printing and distribution are relocating to a new hub in Taunton, Massachusetts, where the company will generate additional revenues by printing newspapers for a number of other publishers, including the Boston Herald, The New York Times and USA Today.
The move is scheduled to take place January 1.
As noted, a number of other newspaper publishers have sold real estate, or at least tried to, in recent years.
In 2014 Freedom Communications, the previous owner of the Orange County Register, sold the newspaper’s headquarters in Santa Ana, CA to developer Michael Harrah for $27 million. Last year the San Diego Union-Tribune sold its 13-acre headquarters in Mission Valley, CA, for $50 million after it was acquired by Tribune Publishing.
Back in 2011, McClatchy sold the Miami Herald’s headquarters for $236 million.
Also, the Tribune Publishing’s flagship headquarters building in Chicago, Tribune Tower, is up for sale with a solid offer from a developer, CIM Group, which reportedly bid between $240 million and $260 million for the landmark.