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Greenville News Redevelopment

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Bids to buy The Greenville News building and the 3.96 acres on which it sits have been received, and Gannett Co. Inc. hopes to complete the sale by year’s end.

A Gannett spokeswoman and the Realtors with CBRE, the real estate company handling the sale of the Greenville site and other Gannett properties, declined to say how many bids were received.

Doug Webster, senior associate with the Greenville office of CBRE, said the site has attracted interest from local and regional developers. “There has been a strong level of interest,” he said.

Ideas for developing the site include retail, hotel and office, he said.

“Whatever it is will be spectacular,” Webster said.

Greenville Mayor Knox White said the sale offers a unique opportunity to build yet another economic engine on a crucial corner downtown, directly across Main Street from the Peace Center and diagonally across from the Courtyard by Marriott.

Steve Brandt, publisher of The Greenville News, said the newspaper plans to lease offices downtown.

In an email in early April sent to News employees, Brandt wrote, “I know it is hard now, as we think about leaving these familiar surroundings, to imagine better, but I have become convinced that that is exactly what we are headed for … newer, better space that aligns with our transformed business in ways that will encourage collaboration within our team and help us to engage more effectively with our large and growing base of readers, digital users and advertising clients.”

In the past two years, Gannett has sold 25 buildings it deemed underutilized, according to a company statement.

The statement also said, “Gannett continues to evaluate opportunities to sell older, under-utilized buildings and to relocate to more efficient, flexible, digitally oriented spaces.”

The sales represent 1 million square feet of office space and more than 100 acres, the statement said.

The plan

The decision whether to demolish The Greenville News building rests in the hands of the winning bidder.

The News complex includes a 100,000-square-foot office building, a 250,000-square-foot printing facility and warehouse and 198 on-site parking spaces, according to the offering document. Printing of The News moves to Gastonia sometime in June, Brandt said.

White said The News property is one of the largest sites to come on the market for redevelopment, and is bigger than One Main and smaller than RiverPlace.

He said he doubts it will be used for a downtown convention center.

“This is an expensive site,” he said. There are several other sites for a convention center that the city is looking at, White said, declining to name them.

Greenville has several needs as far as new development is concerned, he said, most critically Class A office space.

CBRE in its most recent report said about 10 percent of the office space available downtown is Class A.

White said he envisions some Greenville businesses locating at a redeveloped Newssite as well as regional headquarters, with major tenants being banks and other financial institutions. Retail, including restaurants, and residences would round out the project.

“So the corner has energy,” White said.

Properties next door

Two parcels on Main Street between two of The News’ parking lots are not owned by the paper, the store in which Liz Daly Designs is located and an apartment.

Ed Jarman, the owner of the building that houses Liz Daly Designs, said he turned down a $1 million offer to buy the building in January, largely because he and his wife wanted to wait to consider it until they returned to Greenville from Florida in April.

Now he considers the delay fortuitous since the office and printing facility will be sold. Initially only the office building was for sale.

“This is a formidable piece of property,” he said. With his building and a similar one next door, a developer would have a tract unimpeded from Broad Street to the Reedy River.

“It’s a premium because they have free flow all the way to the river,” he said.

Jarman and his wife, Barb, noticed the building while walking down Main Street one day. There was a for sale sign in the window. A frame shop was located there and the owner lived in a room at the back. Jarman thought it was a perfect location for them. They would live on the second floor and house their business selling music CDs on the ground floor.

They paid $447,200 in September 2000, remodeled and moved in. They built a deck on the back that is nearly as big as the interior living space, entertained and watched fireworks every July 4. They set up their lawn chairs on the street and watched parades.

“Downtown developed around us,” he said.

As the business dwindled, they decided to move and have leased the space ever since.

Jarman said he won’t stand in the way of a developer who wants the entire tract.

“I’m too far along in life to be haggling over a certain amount,” he said. “This project is going forward and if a reasonable offer is made, we’ll take it.”

The owner of the apartment is a trust of the Wallace family, one of whom lived there for a time. The family is from Vermont and owned McDonald’s franchises, Daly said. A lawyer for the trust could not be reached for comment.

The newspaper’s future

Brandt said in his memo to employees that CBRE is looking for a new home for the paper and a consultant is working on designing the space for news, advertising, marketing, finance and administration. An onsite call center, which provides customer service for The News and other Gannett papers, will likely move to a suburban location, he said.

As newspapers across the country have reduced staff, many have found their legacy buildings too large and saw an opportunity to create workplaces that better fit the digital age. A case study is the Gannett-owned Des Moines Register. For a century until last June, the Register was located in a 13-story building in downtown Des Moines. Its new office includes 76,000 square feet on a floor and a half in Capital Square, a few blocks from the former office.

It includes an area employees call mission control, a half-moon bank of desks where editors work. The office is equipped with 43 television screens that show the newspaper’s content, analytics about the website as well as what competitors are doing. In a video on the Register site, Rick Green, executive editor and vice president of content, said the new space enhances collaboration and helps journalists produce the quality content readers want.

The newsroom has become more nimble, conforming to the digital reality that what used to be two deadlines a day is now as many deadlines as there is news. The office also includes a photo studio and broadcast studio.

CBRE’s website says the Register’s office tower has an asking price of $1.6 million and is under contract.

Gracia Martore, Gannett chief executive officer, told Wall Street analysts in 2012 that the company had $100 million worth of property on the market, including one she did not identify valued at $20 million.

Among the properties Gannett is selling is the neo-classical building built in the 1920s by Frank Gannett in Rochester, N.Y. The building was the corporate headquarters until the 1980s. The asking price for slightly more than an acre and the 153,350-square-foot building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is $3.5 million, according to the CBRE offering. It was put on the market a year ago.

Among the properties sold are the buildings that housed The Indianapolis Star and the Asbury Park, N.J., Press, which moved into an office building across the street. The building that housed the Burlington, Vermont, newspaper was sold for $2.8 million last October. The buyer intends to renovate the downtown building for retail, residential and offices.

Brandt said other publishers have been enthusiastic about their new offices.

“The changes we are experiencing are huge, but the future for our business in Greenville is bright,” he said in his memo to the staff.

Neither the sale of property at 305 S. Main nor the recent outsourcing of printing has any impact on the ownership of The Greenville News or GreevilleOnline.com, which are owned by Gannett Company, Inc.

The staff of The Greenville News and GreenvilleOnline.com will continue to be located in Greenville, and Realtors are working to identify space for the newspaper to lease in or near Greenville’s central business district.

A consultant is designing the new space to engage more effectively with the paper’s large and growing base of readers, digital users and advertising clients.

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From the article, it sounds like the Convention Center will go elsewhere.  The old Post Office warehouse on Calvin Street would be a good alternative, if it were part of a larger mixed use development, IMO. 

 

I wonder if the Greenville News will be a tenant in a new building, perhaps 2 N. Main, or if they would go into existing space somewhere, perhaps Bank of America? Maybe BOA will move elsewhere and the Gville News will become the signature tenant of that building.  It will be interesting to see what pans out.   

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Wow, lots of activity going on downtown - and this is the most exciting.  We thought the One development at Main and Washington was huge, but this will arguably be bigger, not only in the size of the land but also in the significance of the development.  It's great to hear that the city has big things in mind for the site.  Here's hoping that the winning bidder does, too.

 

I am also glad to hear that the small plot owned by Jarman can be obtained for a fair price to give the development continuity from Broad Street to the Reedy River.  That's fantastic!

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I'm glad that they're considering other sites for the convention center. This indeed will be a great piece of land for development. Can't wait to see what they're envisioning.

Edited by GvilleSC

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Wow, lots of activity going on downtown - and this is the most exciting.  We thought the One development at Main and Washington was huge, but this will arguably be bigger, not only in the size of the land but also in the significance of the development.  It's great to hear that the city has big things in mind for the site.  Here's hoping that the winning bidder does, too.

 

I am also glad to hear that the small plot owned by Jarman can be obtained for a fair price to give the development continuity from Broad Street to the Reedy River.  That's fantastic!

Those two old buildings next to Greenville news to need to stay and be built around. We don't need to be tearing down anymore of those types of buildings downtown.

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Buyer to be identified within 45 days, per GSA Business.

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Buyer to be identified within 45 days, per GSA Business.

It's been approximately 45 days. Ahem...

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It's been approximately 45 days. Ahem...

 

A Greenville project moving slower than anticipated?  No way!

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A Greenville project moving slower than anticipated? No way!

According to my G-News contact, GSA Business got it wrong and there won't be a close on the site until the end of the year or so.

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I hope this doesn't turn into another Gateway site where it keeps changing hands for years with each owner/developer just sits on it and resells for mega profits. This is prime real estate and "investors" know this. After it sells the city can't make them put something there. If they could the Gateway site wouldn't still be a weed field.

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I hope this doesn't turn into another Gateway site where it keeps changing hands for years with each owner/developer just sits on it and resells for mega profits. This is prime real estate and "investors" know this. After it sells the city can't make them put something there. If they could the Gateway site wouldn't still be a weed field.

How do you know the Gateway site sold for mega profits? And if that's the case, why don't all developers just sit on their sites and try to sell them in the future for profit? Why didn't Hughes sit on the ONE site? Why didn't Windsor Aughtry sit on the Courtyard by Marriott site? This is a much better site in terms of where it's located then the Gateway site also. That tells me it won't stay empty for long once it's sold. And the city can make a developer build within a certain timeframe if a development agreement is filed with the city and approved by city council.

Edited by gman430

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I hope you are correct Gman. Hope it's not a another 5 story apartment building. This site begs for some height.

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I hope you are correct Gman. Hope it's not a another 5 story apartment building. This site begs for some height.

Agreed. That's why I am not too upset the Gateway site was cancelled as it was only 4-5 stories tall.

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You really can't compare the two sites (Gateway vs. Greenville News).  Gateway is several blocks away from Main St. and is very challenged in terms of access.  It is much smaller and more irregular in shape than Greenville News. Greenville News is a mega-size block that is in very close in proximity to Falls Park, Main St,, Peace Center , Westin, etc.  It is the 'Hope Diamond' of property downtown. 

 

It will cost a lot of money to purchase it, and what developer is going to sit on it and pay interest on that investment when they could be reaping a profit from it.  The owner has said from the begining that a closing would not occur until the end of the year. That timetable has not changed.  

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Site under contract. Plans call for residential, hotel, retail and office space.

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Greenvilel News reporting that Greenville News site is under contract.  It is to be torn down and redeveloped - hotel, retail, residential

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Loving all of the development news for downtown this week. :)

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Site under contract. Plans call for residential, hotel, retail and office space.

 

Awesome!  This is going to be great.  So glad to hear that the current building will be torn down for something much better.

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Awesome! This is going to be great. So glad to hear that the current building will be torn down for something much better.

This is interesting to consider: We have seen Washington Street change dramatically over the past couple of years with 100 East and the two blocks of the One development. Broad Street seems to be poised for a similar situation now with Rivers Edge, Erwin Penland, the Fountains apartments, and The Greenville News redevelopment. You could possibly include the apartment proposal for the site between Broad Westfield streets, too. Rhett Street has a collection of proposed/under construction projects with 400 Rhett, Tom Croft condos, West Link, Stadium apartments, and Markley Row. I really like the spread and grouping of these proposals.

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This is interesting to consider: We have seen Washington Street change dramatically over the past couple of years with 100 East and the two blocks of the One development. Broad Street seems to be poised for a similar situation now with Rivers Edge, Erwin Penland, the Fountains apartments, and The Greenville News redevelopment. You could possibly include the apartment proposal for the site between Broad Westfield streets, too. Rhett Street has a collection of proposed/under construction projects with 400 Rhett, Tom Croft condos, West Link, Stadium apartments, and Markley Row. I really like the spread and grouping of these proposals.

 

I agree.  Really nice development pattern downtown going on.  Definitely more than just Main Street.  :shades:

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Amazing, third day in a row that a major downtown development has been announced!!

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Amazing, third day in a row that a major downtown development has been announced!!

Considering the locations, sizes, and nature of the latest announcements, and the numerous projects already going up or soon to be under construction, downtown presumably will expand rapidly over the next several years. As more vacant and under-utilized land is replaced by urban development, we should expect city leaders to encourage taller structures in and around the CBD. I am pleased to see vertical development on the "flat" properties east of Main Street. The new federal courthouse will likely enhance the density of the skyline as well.

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