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Star putting downtown headquarters on market

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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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  • Yep, A Failure
    Yes Jonathon, that failure to develop a thriving downtown is the exact reason why I'm on a six month waiting list to live downtown. The north part of the Star complex was sold several months ago to an apartment developer. Hopefully they will now buy the whole building and convert it, that way my waiting list will go down to two or three months.
  • Indy is a model
    Anyone who was spent anytime outside of Indiana realizes downtown Indy is a model for the country. However you can't be the downtown to a decaying Marion County. The focus needs to shift outside of downtown to compete with Hamilton County and the others in order for Indianapolis to truly remain viable and competitive. The lack of effective regional planning will hurt the entire region if things do not change.
  • Downtown
    Jonathon, with respect, downtown apartments have a 94%+ occupancy rate, and new units are being filled to the brim before opening. Maybe, just maybe, people are tired of suburbia. Not you, of course, but plenty of intelligent, forward-looking people who want nothing more than a bold future in an exciting, revitalizing place.
  • beginning of the end
    The beginning of the end was when the Star fired Robin Miller & several other reporters that year. It's been downhill since due to email, & internet & others.. Karen does not have a chance
  • Dreaming
    Does anyone see the irony here. As businesses continue to flee the urban core, pie in the sky developers armed with other people's money and government money build ever more housing. This in a city of abandoned homes. This is the very definition of delusional. Indy rolled the dice on a sports-themed downtown, and anyone who has their eyes open understands it is an expensive, massive failure.

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    1. PJ - Mall operators like Simon, and most developers/ land owners, establish individual legal entities for each property to avoid having a problem location sink the ship, or simply structure the note to exclude anything but the property acting as collateral. Usually both. The big banks that lend are big boys that know the risks and aren't mad at Simon for forking over the deed and walking away.

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