Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Suburban newspaper plants For Sale: UPDATE

"Overburdened with underutilized properties"

Suburban newspaper plants For Sale: UPDATE


Offices of the Daily Local News (West Chester), the Daily Times of Delaware County and other suburban daily and weekly publishers are among the U.S. newspaper and Web site properties being offered For Sale by owner DigitalFirst Media Corp. and its brokers.  The offices are being marketed by broker Praxis Commerical and Twenty Lake Holdings, an affiliate of investor Alden Global Capital which has been selling newspaper offices for Alden's newspaper chains Digital First and MediaNews Group since 2011. 

Newly listed: the Interprint plant at 2100 Frost Road, Bristol, Bucks County, which is already under contract with a buyer for $3.5 million, Anne Pennington of broker Praxis Commercial told me. The group has also been marketing the Daily Times building in Primos, asking $2.1 million; the Daily Local News office in West Chester; and the regional printing plant at 350 Eagleview Boulevard in Exton. Already for sale are the homes of the Pottstown Mercury, Norristown Times Herald and Lansdale Reporter in Montgomery County, and the Trentonian in New Jersey.   

The idea is "to streamline our real estate portfolio" by selling old properties and leasing new ones, "thereby freeing the company from the constraints of being overburdened with underutilized properties," Digital First boss Steve Rossi said in a statement. Brokers say they have sold 67 properties for Digital First and its affiliates since 2012 and now have 70 more listed for sale, with an estimated combined value of $85 million. You can see Twenty Lake's listed properties here.

Praxis previously sold facilities of the York daily newspapers for a total of $4.05 million, after which the papers leased back part of the main space while leaving a smaller building vacant; and the Lebanon paper, for $495,000, and the Chambersburg paper, for $480,000, both of which moved. 

News organizations including the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News have been selling their buildings and moving into rented space as the product shifts from printed paper to online and mobile distribution and total employment has shrunk. 

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PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com, distefano251@gmail.com, 215.854.5194 or 302.652.2004.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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