Independent Journal building sold; online shipping company to move in

Independent Journal building sold; online shipping company to move in

Published: 04/30/2012 06:32:42 PM PDT
A South Novato office complex that was home to the Independent Journal for 30 years has been sold to a Marin real estate company for use as an online order fulfillment and call center, the two parties said.

The newspaper’s owner, California Newspapers Partnership, sold the property to Zenbay Real Estate LLC, a San Rafael-based real estate company, for an undisclosed price on April 10, according to county records.

MediaNews Group of Denver, Colo., holds a controlling share of the partnership. Other partners include Gannett Co. Inc. of McLean, Va., and Stephens Media of Las Vegas.

The 60,000-square-foot complex at 150 Alameda del Prado served as the daily newspaper’s headquarters from 1981 to 2011, when the IJ relocated to a leased suite at 4000 Civic Center Drive in San Rafael.

The sale was part of an effort to cut costs and increase efficiencies; prior to the move, the IJ’s owners moved printing operations from Novato to Concord, where other MediaNews publications are printed. The company has also centralized functions such as advertisement production, billing, payroll and distribution, Publisher David Rounds said.

The newspaper and its owners have placed increasing emphasis on growing online and mobile revenue, and in 2011 MediaNews announced it would be managed by Digital First Media of New York City.

“Print is alive, print is still important, it’s going to be around for a long time but our readers are making the transition from print to digital and we need to go with them,” Rounds said.

Zenbay Real Estate will lease the Novato office complex to Ocusun LLC, a Bel Marin Keys order fulfillment company that provides shipping, receiving and telephone customer support for online retailers, said Philip Green, a San Rafael-based attorney who has worked with both companies.

Clients will include the eyeglass seller Zenni Optical, Green confirmed. The company is remodeling the Novato buildings, and no move-in date has been set.

“They are happy that it’s a nice quiet area and they are happy to get the presses out of there and turn it into a more calm or peaceful use,” Green said.