Post-Dispatch selling headquarters, moving operations

Post-Dispatch selling headquarters, moving operations

May 26, 2015
Lee Enterprises, owner of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch since 2005, said Tuesday it is selling the newspaper’s headquarters and moving its operations.

It has been at 900 N. Tucker Blvd. since 1959, according to a statement Tuesday from Lee.

The property has an appraised value of $4.1 million, according to St. Louis property records.

Hilliker Corp. is marketing the property. An asking price was not disclosed for the building, built in 1930 by the St. Louis Globe-Democrat to house newspaper presses, distribution equipment and offices. The Post-Dispatch bought the building in 1959.

“This property is a great addition to the historic building stock in the St. Louis market,” Meade Summers, president of Hilliker Corp., said in a statement. “It could remain office space or be repositioned for residential use.”

Post-Dispatch Publisher Ray Farris said in a statement that the move was necessitated by the changing media landscape.

“We are a 21st-century media company operating in a mid 20th-century building,” Farris said in a statement.

Farris said the newspaper would like to stay in downtown St. Louis.

“As we explore possible locations, nothing will change for our readers,” he said. “We will always be the leading news-gathering organization regardless of our physical address.”

Ken Doctor, a media analyst with Outsell, said many metropolitan newspapers’ headquarters have been sold, and there will be more to come, as their financial health has been impacted by the explosion of digital media and declines in print advertising revenue.

“It’s just part of shedding hard assets and reflective of smaller space needed for smaller staffed enterprises,” Doctor said. “Newspapers need cash, given how small their operating income is, and these sales are one more reflection of that.”

Since 2008, printing for the Post-Dispatch has taken place in Maryland Heights.

Lee Enterprises, based in Davenport, Iowa, reported a fiscal second-quarter profit of $2 million, up from $1.7 million in the prior-year quarter.

Lee’s Pulitzer newspapers, of which the Post-Dispatch is a part, saw operating income fall to $1.7 million from $2.4 million in the prior-year quarter. The Post-Dispatch was founded in 1878. Mary Junck is chairman, president and CEO of Lee Enterprises.