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Times-Union building offered for sale or redevelopment

Times-Union building offered for sale or redevelopment

The Florida Times-Union property at 1 Riverside Ave. is on the market for possible sale or redevelopment.
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Morris Publishing Group, parent company of the Times-Union and Jacksonville.com, said Saturday that it will consider proposals to sell the 18-acre property on the St. Johns River, or consider possible partnerships to develop the site for mixed use, including offices, a hotel or multifamily housing.
 
“Newspaper-based companies across the country are adapting to the explosion of digital technologies,” said Mark Nusbaum, president of Times-Union Media. “Most of their buildings were designed to accommodate industrial typesetting machines that have been replaced by computers, requiring substantially less space. Digital communication also means that, while offices like the newsroom and advertising can remain in the central city, the presses and distribution facilities can be located on major truck-transportation routes.”
 
Morris is working with Louis Nutter, senior vice president of investment properties, and Brian C. Moulder, executive vice president, with CBRE, a commercial real estate services and investment firm, which soon will issue an offering memorandum.
 
Nusbaum said that, under any plan, Times-Union Media remains strong and will continue operations without interruption.
 
He also said the Times-Union is committed to maintaining a major downtown presence.
 
Several major companies, including the Miami Herald and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, have in recent years sold centralized downtown facilities.
 
Since 1967, The Florida Times-Union and its affiliates have been on the site between Riverside Avenue, the Acosta Bridge and the St. Johns River, over McCoy’s Creek and including a section of the Northbank Riverwalk and four acres of the river itself.
 
The property includes two connected structures: a five-story, 55,000-square-foot office building and a two-story, 225,000-square-foot production facility, which includes the newsroom, advertising offices and printing and packaging areas.
 
CBRE suggested four possibilities:
  • Sell the entire site.
  • Form a joint venture to develop the entire site.
  • Relocate the offices and use that part of the site for a hotel or multifamily housing.
  • Relocate the production functions, develop that part of the site, and anchor the news, advertising and other office functions in the existing five-story building with the “Times-Union” signage.
CBRE said the Times-Union property is attractive for development because of the renaissance of the Brooklyn area along Riverside Avenue linking downtown with the Riverside-Five Points area. New developments include 604 apartment units, a Fresh Market and new restaurants and retail stores.
 
“We are enthusiastic about the opportunity,’’ said Nusbaum. “The Times-Union is financially sound, but our business has changed dramatically in recent years. We think it’s wise to explore all possibilities with our real estate asset here in Jacksonville. We’re excited about the progress downtown is making, and we see this type of development possibly making a significant contribution to that momentum.’’
 
The newspaper’s roots go back to 1864 when The Florida Union began publishing weekly out of an office on Ocean Street downtown. The Florida Daily Times began in 1881, and the two merged in 1883, moving into a building on the southwest corner of Bay and Laura. In 1900, the Times-Union moved to the Astor Building at Bay and Hogan, then in 1911 to a building on the southwest corner of Pearl and Adams, across from what is now the Duval County Courthouse.
 
The Riverside facility opened in 1967, and Morris purchased the newspaper in 1982.
 
Morris Publishing Group, which is privately owned and based in Augusta, Ga., owns 11 daily newspapers as well as non-daily newspapers, city magazines and free community publications in the Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and Alaska. The company is concentrated in the Southeast where, in addition to the Times-Union, it owns The St. Augustine Record, The Augusta Chronicle, Savannah Morning News and Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald.
 
For more information, visit our websites: http://morrispublishinggroup.com and http://morris.com.
 

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For Inquiries to Morris Communications Company, LLC:
Heather Nagel-Doughtie
Chief Marketing Officer
(706) 823-3580
heather.nagel@morris.com