In a historic move, The Sacramento Bee said Wednesday it is exploring the sale of its main office building and printing facility in a sale-leaseback arrangement.
The Bee’s facilities at 21st and Q streets are among several real estate properties around the country that are being put on the market by The Bee’s parent, The McClatchy Co., as the company seeks to generate cash as the newspaper industry copes with a changing media landscape. The Bee has already made a deal to sell its parking garage to Sacramento developer Sotiris Kolokotronis, although the deal hasn’t closed yet.
If The Bee property is sold, the deal would also include McClatchy’s corporate headquarters, which are down the hall from the main newsroom.
Despite staffing cutbacks in recent years, The Bee and McClatchy expect to lease back the entire property, said McClatchy Chief Financial Officer Elaine Lintecum.
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“Real estate has been viewed differently in the recent past, and newspapers across the nation have been selling real estate properties, enabling them to reduce costs and improve efficiencies,” said Bee Publisher Cheryl Dell in a memo to employees.
Besides the Sacramento parking garage, McClatchy made a deal to sell its downtown facilities in Raleigh, N.C., home of the company’s News & Observer newspaper. Those two deals are expected to generate $25 million before taxes when they close, McClatchy Chief Executive Pat Talamantes said in a conference call with investors in February.
Lintecum said McClatchy also is exploring sale-leaseback deals at its newspapers in Kansas City and Columbia, S.C.
“We’re looking to monetize real estate across the country,” she said.
The Bee’s headquarters, built for $2.3 million, opened for business in April 1952 on the site of a defunct brewery. More than 3,000 well-wishers attended a series of open houses a month later.