The property that encompasses the San Jose Mercury News printing plant and newsroom will soon be up for sale.
Nathan Donato-Weinstein, of the Silicon Valley Business Journal, first reported that the 36-acre property, owned by California Newspapers Partnership, will go on sale without an asking price.
Mac Tully, publisher of the Mercury News and Bay Area News Group’s 11 other daily papers, confirmed the Biz Journal’s report with San Jose Inside.
“We are putting it up for sale, because it sits on 36 acres and it’s in a really prime location in San Jose,” Tully said, noting the easy access points to the 880 and 680 freeways. “We think it has a pretty significant commercial value.”
MediaNews Group, which is owned by Digital First Media, purchased the San Jose Mercury News in 2006, and has significantly downsized its San Jose operations in the seven years that it has owned the newspaper. Its Bay Area News Group (BANG) subsidiary has consolidated business operations at its headquarters in the Contra Costa County city of San Ramon, 32 miles away from the current building.
Tully said that Mercury News printing and production will be relocated to BANG’s Concord and Hayward printing plants, while the search for a new newsroom location for reporters, editors and advertising execs will begin “immediately.” He added that no editorial positions will be cut during the relocation process.
The Mercury News was previously headquartered in downtown San Jose before moving to the Ridder Park Drive campus roughly 50 years ago.
“We wound up with a facility here that is much larger than we need,” Tully said, adding that the newspaper uses just “a fraction” of its 320,000 square feet in office space and the building requires infrastructure improvements.
“Any time you can become more efficient … you should do that, as long as it doesn’t impact the vehicle, or the quality of newspaper and reader experience,” Tully said.
“We are continuing out transformation into a multi-media company.”
BANG’s newspapers are read by 1.5 million print readers every Sunday, Tully said, while more than 2.7 million people access the media companies papers via print and digital.
The Mercury News recently raised daily prices for print from $1 to $1.50, but online content remains free. Tully said the Mercury News and other BANG newspapers have no plans to begin charging readers for online content.
“It’s not in our immediate future at this point,” he said. “Our CEO John Paton has been pretty vocal of his view of free.”
Below is the full press release regarding the sale of the San Jose Mercury News property:
Digital First Media Selling San Jose Mercury News 35-Acre Campus
Will Relocate Newsgathering, Advertising Teams As Part of Company’s Digital Strategy
New York, NY (April 15, 2013) – Digital First Media today announced the active marketing of the San Jose Mercury News’ nearly 36-acre campus and plans to relocate newsgathering, advertising and printing operations.
“This is part of Digital First Media’s strategic initiatives and follows similar moves we have made across the Company. The future sale of the building and land allows us to reduce legacy infrastructure costs and focus on the key components of our digital business model – providing news and information to our audiences across the platforms of their choice,” said John Paton, Chief Executive Office of Digital First Media. “The San Jose Mercury News will build on its storied history as a digital innovator and leader as we open new offices that reflect our open newsroom design and continue the audience engagement initiatives the staff has started in the Bay Area.
The 35.68-acre campus—home to the San Jose Mercury News and Bay Area News Group’s offices – consists of a 312,000 square foot main building and a 12,000 square foot garage and was opened in 1965.
The San Jose Mercury News’s content, advertising and business operations will be relocated to new office space in the future, pending the sale timeline of the current campus. Printing and production of the Mercury News will be relocated to Bay Area news Group’s Concord and Hayward printing plants.
“Our business, news, and advertising personnel can look forward to more modern office facilities and our newspapers will have greater paging and color capabilities as a result of the production transition,” said Mac Tully, Publisher of the San Jose Mercury News.
Digital First Media has launched open newsroom concepts following the successful launch of the nation’s first open newsroom at The Register Citizen in Torrington, Conn. Parts of that design have been incorporated into newsroom designs for the El Paso Times—which relocated earlier this year – as well as more than 20 Community Media Labs across the country.
“We do not define ourselves by the building we work in but by the community we serve and that is not changing and will not change. We will continue to reach our growing audience to meet their needs and expectations,” said Mr. Tully.
The San Jose Mercury News and Bay Area News Group – as part of Digital First Media’s community engagement initiative – recently launched the MoJo Lab, a mobile media lab serving the Bay Area.
The property will be represented jointly by the Silicon Valley offices of Eastdil Secured and CBRE. Those interested in further information regarding the property should contact Rob Shannon of CBRE (408 453-7486) or Greg Cioth of Eastdil Secured (408 533-9210).
About Digital First Media
Digital First Media is headquartered in New York City, and jointly manages MediaNews Group and Journal Register Company. Digital First Media reaches 61.5 million Americans each month through more than 800 multi-platform products across 18 states.
For more information contact:
Vice President Media Relations & Employee Communications Digital First Media