In one more bad omen for the newspaper industry, it looks like the iconic downtown Los Angeles home of the Los Angeles Times will be sold off to become offices and retail outlets.
Canadian developer Onni Group has entered into a preliminary agreement to buy the landmark Los Angeles Times building near City Hall with an eye toward redeveloping the property into modern offices and retail.
The acquisition of Times Mirror Square would be a significant gain for the Vancouver company, which has been on an acquisition spree in downtown Los Angeles, where it owns at least eight properties — including offices, apartments and an extended-stay hotel, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday. Tribune Media announced the sales agreement in a news release last month but did not disclose the buyer or the price.
Most newspapers in the industry, including the Times, have lost significant circulation due to the Internet and related digital developments.
A downtown real estate expert valued the roughly 750,000-square- foot Times complex at more than $100 million, according to The Times.
The deal with Onni could still fall apart. A previous agreement to sell the property collapsed earlier this year, Tribune Media said. However, Onni has progressed further in the sales process than the previous potential buyer, which was another investment group, a person familiar with deal told The Times.
A spokesperson for Tribune Media, which owns the Los Angeles Times building at 202 W. 1st St., declined to comment. Dan Bell of Onni’s acquisitions group also declined to comment, as did Stephen Somer of Eastdil Secured, who is representing Tribune Media.
After a sale, it’s unclear if the Los Angeles Times would stay in the building it has called home since the 1930s. The newspaper has a lease until 2018, with two consecutive five-year options beyond that, a person familiar with the terms told the newspaper.
Tribune Media is also looking to sell the L.A. Times’ downtown printing facility off Olympic Boulevard. A buyer has agreed to purchase that property as well, according to Tribune’s news release last month.
—City News Service
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