New arts center may share space with Woodland newspaper

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B

The building that is home to Woodland's daily newspaper is being sold, and plans call for turning much of the historic downtown space into a center for the arts.

"We are in escrow to purchase," developer Ron Caceres of Woodland-based RCI Development Inc. said Monday. Caceres declined to elaborate, citing an agreement not to discuss the deal.

The Woodland Daily Democrat, one of the state's oldest dailies, will stay put at 711 Main St., said Jim Gleim, Daily Democrat publisher.

Gleim said the deal would have no effect on the paper's staffing or operations. But he said the paper would occupy roughly half of the 15,000-square-foot building and is considering leasing space outside the building for distribution.

The newspaper, owned by Denver-based MediaNews Group, has a daily circulation of about 8,600.

Meanwhile, leaders at YoloArts, the countywide arts and art education nonprofit, say they are talking with Caceres about moving into the building. YoloArts officials envision studio, gallery and interactive spaces at the site.

"We do have plans. There's no deal in place, but the developer is excited about bringing arts to downtown and additional traffic to downtown," said YoloArts director Danielle Thomas.

Bringing the arts to downtown Woodland is familiar territory for Caceres. In 2010, Caceres proposed a project to refurbish, reopen and expand Woodland's long-closed State Theatre at the west end of downtown.

Revitalizing Woodland's downtown has been a goal of merchants, residents and city leaders for some time, especially with development sprouting along the city's outer fringes, and was a prominent issue during last spring's City Council campaign.

"As a 31-year-old organization, we want to make sure the arts are celebrated and have a presence in our community," Thomas said. "We want this to serve as a hub and a resource."

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