Commercial Real Estate and Newspapers and Indianapolis Star and Publishing and Media & Marketing and Real Estate & Retail

Star putting downtown headquarters on market

July 27, 2012

The Indianapolis Star plans to sell its downtown headquarters building at 307 N. Pennsylvania St., the newspaper reported Friday afternoon.

President and Publisher Karen Crotchfelt made the announcement to the newpaper's staff Friday afternoon, saying the company would seek more modern office space downtown that was better suited to a "media company in the digital age," the story said.

The newspaper has been located at the site since 1907, four years after it was founded.

The building's assessed value is $21.3 million, according to tax records.

Commercial real estate broker CBRE was hired to market the building.

The Star's parent, Virginia-based Gannett Co., employs 1,073 people in the Indianapolis area, including about 650 downtown.

“Anybody who is reasonable who looks at the size of the building and the size of our staff can see it’s a mismatch,” said Indianapolis Newspaper Guild President Robert King, a reporter at The Star. “We have much more building than we have need for.”

King pointed out that the paper’s printing operation was moved to a facility on the city’s northwest side about 10 years ago, most of the human resources staff has been moved off-site and the editorial staff has shrunk through multiple layoffs.

While King said the paper might be hurt by losing its highly visible home, he thinks it's more important to have an appropriately sized building “in the heart of downtown” close to city and state government buildings and courts that reporters often cover.

The move doesn’t necessarily mean there will be more layoffs at the newpaper, King said.

“We’ve recently hired [editorial staffers] and we have job postings for two more reporter positions,” King said. “I don’t think this move is going to mean a smaller editorial staff by any means. Hopefully, this move frees up some money to invest in the news staff. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking.”

Crotchfelt told staffers there was no timeline for a sale or move.

Earlier this year, Gannett sold the adjacent American Building to developers planning market rate apartments.

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