Alden Global’s Tribune Takeover Likely Means Real Estate Deals, Too – Commercial Observer

Alden Global CapitalAcquisition of $ 635 million Tribune Publishing – – which Tribune shareholders approved Friday – Could lead to property sales and conversions in major cities.

That’s because the Manhattan-based hedge fund has a solid reputation Sarlacc when it comes to the fortunes of the newspapers it acquires. Tribune’s recent acquisitions include nine titles: the news in New York, the Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore sun, the Hartford Courant, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sun Sentinel from South Florida that Daily press and The Virginian pilot from Virginia and The morning call Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley.

Alden has devoured dozens of other newspapers and / or their buildings over the past decade, and bought and sold them through subsidiaries Twenty Lake Holdings and 20 Lake Management, according to to An analysis of real estate records this The Washington Post published in February 2019.

The trades have spanned the geographic range from newspaper properties in California to hotels in Memphis, Tennessee, Virginia Beach and suburban Philadelphia. An analysis of Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences, Published in early 2021, found that Alden owned at least 56 newspapers through his Digital first media Poor. Until that last deal, it also owned 32 percent of 10 Tribune newspapers.

And in many of these locations real estate deals were made in which the fortunes of these newspapers were involved. It’s not an accident. Alden founded the asset trade subsidiary Twenty Lake Holdings two years after starting the newspaper-taking over wing Digital First. Alden also sometimes skips buying the newspaper and just grabs the property instead.

In April 2020, for example, Alden’s Twenty Lake bought the headquarters of the Asheville Citizen-Times in North Carolina for $ 3.2 million from the newspaper giant Gannetand then appeared to flip it the same day for $ 5.3 million.

“I think real estate is the first thing you look at,” one analyst testified Huber research partner he said postwho first reported the Asheville Flip.

In fact, from the start, Tribune’s offer was seen almost entirely in terms of what Alden was able to get out of the company. Newspaper employees, including his Journalists, got up to find other buyers besides Alden;; and former employees of the hedge fund, who especially likes to core newsrooms after the takeover, common horror stories of life under the company.

The shareholders’ vote on Friday even prompted the news issue a damning opinion Explain that whatever came of its new owner, it would stay: “Thank you for purchasing this sympathy card, but please recycle it. If you believe in what we did and what we continue to do, read us in print and online. Vultures pick dead animals. We live and type. “

Tribune did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the fate of its previous assets. Twenty Lakes in Alden and Stamford, Connecticut, could not be reached.

Newspaper buildings, including headquarters and printing centers, have proven irresistible redevelopment opportunities in the United States in recent years. At least a dozen newspaper offices, including those in Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Charlotte, NC, Miami, and St. Louis, have been redeveloped or replaced since 2010.

Much of this is due to where the buildings are usually located. Previously, before email and other byte-sized digital communications allowed them to streamline their jobs, reporters and photographers had to be close to the action as more mastheads per community competed for the same shovels. How else can you just get the latest crime report or municipal budget on the web? That meant headquarters near town halls, courthouses, police headquarters, hospitals, arenas, and downtown business centers.

Developers naturally appreciate such locations. They also like the generally large floor slabs and the large areas that appeal to today’s increasingly important technology tenants (Of course, many of them stole the advertising thunder from traditional print media and thus invited the rape of people like Alden).

“These buildings were not built as buildings – they are factories” Jim McKelvey, Co-founder of the mobile payment giant square and president of StarWood Group, told The New York Times Early 2020. “These are newspaper factories.”

McKelveys StarWood is developing the former home of the St. Louis Post Dispatch – including a 100-foot-long printing press that weighed up to 600 tons when fully loaded – into a turntable for technology companies.

It is still unclear what assets Alden could sell as part of its Tribune acquisition. The Chicago Tribune sold his eponymous tower in Windy City in 2016 and left it in 2018. It was converted into posh condominiums.

And Tribune Publishing the offices closed last summer of news at the 4 New York Plaza in Lower Manhattan, as well as those of the Orlando Sentinel and the Lehigh Valley Morning call ((The latter celebrated 100 years in the same place in 2020).

In 2018 The Baltimore sun left his decades-long home in downtown Baltimore for its printing press building in Port Covington, along the city’s waterfront. Tribune had sold the downtown building the year before.