The Riverside Press-Enterprise is the latest California newspaper to decide that it no longer needs the cost and hassle of its own building. Dallas-based A.H. Belo Corp., which owns the Press-Enterprise, said Monday it has agreed in principle to sell the five-story building to Riverside County for approximately $30 million. The newspaper says it has only about half of the 700 staffers the building can accommodate.
Press-Enterprise Publisher and CEO Ronald R. Redfern announced the pending transaction in an email to employees Monday afternoon. The sale, which is based on a non-binding letter of intent, is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. Assuming that happens, the company plans to relocate to leased office space within Riverside city limits, Redfern wrote
The building would become home to the county’s information technology department, said county spokesman Ray Smith. The department is trying to consolidate its services, a move county officials said could save $40 million to $60 million over the next few years.
“Over time, the county believes purchasing the building and consolidating staff will cost less than leasing space in multiple commercial buildings in the area,” Smith wrote in an email. “The need for space continues to grow with the county’s population because the county must provide services to all residents.”
The San Jose Mercury recently put its building on the market. The Whittier Daily News has moved out of its old digs. And papers such as the LA Daily News and Daily Breeze have long since moved into smaller offices. The Los Angeles Times still occupies its own building complex on Spring Street between 1st and 2nd streets in downtown LA, but only a portion of it. The staff is considerably smaller than just five years ago. Unused areas of the one-time Times Mirror Corporation headquarters are leased out to a call center whose employees apparently don't mingle so well with the newsroom types. I'm told there have been some, shall we say, cultural differences in the cafeteria and elsewhere. Staffers these days have to swipe access cards to get into the newsrooms.
Riverside Press-Enterprise photo: Kurt Miller