Pioneer Press moving to St. Paul’s West Side

Pioneer Press moving to St. Paul’s West Side

June 16, 2015
cst 9627 River Park Plaza
The Pioneer Press/TwinCities.com, after finalizing a lease Tuesday, announced that its headquarters is moving to River Park Plaza on St. Paul’s West Side, just across the Robert Street Bridge from downtown St. Paul.

River Park Plaza, an eight-story, 300,000-square-foot facility built in 1988, fronts the Mississippi River. The Pioneer Press/TwinCities.com will occupy an entire floor, plus additional space for a data center and other operations.

The move is scheduled for late 2015 or early 2016.

It will be the first time in the newspaper’s 165-year history that it will be headquartered outside downtown St. Paul — if just barely outside.

“The new work space will include considerable upgrades that support our increased digital focus,” Associate Publisher Greg Mazanec said. “In addition to growing print circulation market share to 70 percent, up 10 points over the last decade, the Pioneer Press has put up double-digit, industry-leading digital revenue growth for five consecutive years. And our new offices will be designed to support that kind of growth into the future.

“As a practical matter, the parking will be great, and the views of the river and St. Paul skyline spectacular. This really is a great opportunity to reset the work environment as we move ahead. The team members I’ve spoken with are enthusiastic about the move, and why shouldn’t they be?”

As reported last week, the downtown St. Paul headquarters of the Pioneer Press/TwinCities.com, the company’s home since 1984, has been sold to Stencil Group II LLC, a real estate developer headquartered in Sioux Falls, S.D. That sale closed June 12. Neither the terms of the lease nor of the sale were disclosed.

Stencil Group plans to convert the newspaper’s current home at 345 Cedar St. into multifamily housing. The project is still in the design phase, but CEO Nate Stencil said he expects that the eight-story building will accommodate 150 to 168 market-rate rental units.

Stencil said his company was attracted to the building’s location on the Green Line light rail and the skyway system, as well as its open floor plates.

“It’s a fairly clean and attractive opportunity for a conversion,” Stencil said. “From a demolition standpoint, there aren’t a lot of interior walls.”

He expects to begin construction around Jan. 1 and open the building to tenants in late summer or early fall 2016. This will be the Stencil Group’s first housing development in the Twin Cities.

The sale of the Pioneer Press’ headquarters came two weeks after the sale of its former printing plant on the West Side.

Digital First Media, parent company of the Pioneer Press, put 345 Cedar on the market in late 2012 for $4.2 million.

The Pioneer Press has operated out of 345 Cedar since October 1984. The newspaper bought the building from Ecolab in 1983 for $6 million and spent an additional $5.6 million renovating it. It was built in 1955 as the headquarters for the Minnesota Mutual Life Insurance Co., now known as Securian.

The eight-story River Park Plaza building — known as the Comcast building because of its anchor tenant — is on the west bank of the Mississippi, facing downtown. About one-third of its office space is vacant.