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Philly Inq./Daily News/Philly.com building for sale

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by IBIS, Aug 21, 2007.

  1. IBIS

    IBIS Guest

    Is this bad? ???


    Inquirer Building to be offered for sale
    By Bob Fernandez

    The Inquirer Building (right foreground) and surrounding area, on the northwest corner of Broad and Callowhill Streets.
    Make an offer: landmark 1920s-era newspaper building.
    Looks like wedding cake.

    Bronze cap.

    Pulitzer plaques not included.

    Brian Tierney, chief executive officer of Philadelphia Media Holdings L.L.C., said today that the company would sell the Inquirer Building, which also houses the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com, and downtown property to reduce debt and reinvest in the company's media businesses. The company will present the 18-story building for sale to real estate developers in an offering memorandum mailed nationwide in September.

    The company also is soliciting in the memorandum ideas for where to put the 950 journalists, ad people, executives, computer technicians, support staff and others who now work in the building, company officials said.

    The property comprises the 470,000-square-foot building at 400 N. Broad St. and the company's parking garage on Callowhill Street, between 15th and 16th Streets. The total area is 4.2 acres.

    The Inquirer Building is about half vacant, said Richard Thayer, PMH executive vice president of finance, because of downsizing and the fact that many employees staff suburban news and advertising offices, and a printing plant in Montgomery County.

    The company and its broker, Jones Lang LaSalle, declined to say how much they were seeking for the property. The city's Board of Revision of Taxes has placed a value of $16.7 million on the real estate, based on its use as lower-grade office space and parking. Eugene Davey, director of assessments, said the agency's market value "doesn't mean much" to a developer, who could convert the site into condominiums.

    PMH said it believed it was a good time to sell, because the expansion at the Convention Center was focusing attention on the area, Thayer and William Luff, of Jones Lang, said. But weakening credit markets and near-panic over defaults in the subprime-mortgage markets have led some to believe that now is a tough time for real estate deal-making. "If we don't get the right price, we won't sell," Thayer said. He said he would like to have a deal "substantially completed" by the end of the year.

    The new local owners, which bought the newspapers and Philly.com in 2006 for $515 million, with more than $300 million of the purchase price borrowed, had planned from the beginning to sell the downtown property to raise cash, Tierney said.

    He was leaving open the option of where to relocate the Inquirer and Daily News newsrooms and corporate functions. They could relocate to a new building constructed behind the Inquirer Building - on land that is now parking and will be part of the deal. Signing a lease as a tenant for this new building could be a sweetener for an interested buyer, Tierney said.

    The company would need 250,000 to 300,000 square feet of space in a new building for the newsrooms, executive offices, advertising and other operations, a company official said.

    "Wherever we go has to be an iconic address," Tierney said. "I hope somehow we could stay attached to this piece of land." He said he would like a modern newsroom and offices that would "make the place more progressive."

    PMH retained H2L2, a Philadelphia architectural and interior-design firm, to seed ideas for potential buyers. According to those ideas, the property could be redeveloped into a boutique hotel, condos, retail, or modern offices - or some combination of them.

    "It will be an interesting deal for what someone envisions it to be in the future," said Jim P. Vesey, senior director for capital markets for Cushman & Wakefield Inc., of Philadelphia.

    Contact staff writer Bob Fernandez at 215-854-5897 or bob.fernandez@phillynews.com.
  2. imjustagirl2

    imjustagirl2 New Member

    Don't know..but it is a d_b. http://www.sportsjournalists.com/forum/
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