Long before the pandemic, the country was losing newsrooms at a rate of two per week, according to Local News Initiative, a report from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. This left behind a vast landscape of empty offices and a handful of iconic buildings. Since their closing, many of those spaces have been completely transformed, paving the way for jaw-dropping luxury condos, indoor ropes courses and everything in between.
There was a time when the Daily News was the best selling newspaper in America, but in 2020 the paper had to jump ship from its Manhattan office at 4 New York Plaza due to the pandemic and ensuing city-wide shutdown. The paper, a subsidiary of Tribune Publishing, has since moved its staff to a near-permanent remote work status, negating a need for the FiDi location. Instead, the massive office space houses tenants including J.P. Morgan Chase, American Media and Radio One.
In 2013, the Miami Herald joined droves of newspapers across the country that drastically downsized their office space, and swapped its 750,000 square foot waterfront headquarters on Biscayne Bay in favor of a 160,000 square foot complex in suburban Doral — which it later left in 2020 in favor of remote work. The paper’s original One Herald Plaza location has been the subject of much speculation and zoning drama since it was purchased for $236 million and torn to the ground in 2014, with developers Resorts World Miami and Malaysian-based Genting Group looking to build three 60-story buildings atop a sprawling casino complex on the site, according to Florida YIMBY. The groups also promised to expand the city’s monorail system as a concession for the casino’s construction, linking Miami to Miami Beach via the BayLink monorail system. In the meantime, the empty lot is being repurposed annually as a makeshift convention center, hosting trade shows and events.
Rental drama led to the departure of the Orlando Sentinel at its former headquarters at 610 North Orange Avenue. In 2016, developer Midtown Properties acquired the location, extending a leasing agreement with the paper’s parent company, Tribune Publishing, to 2023. Ultimately however, a lawsuit for more than half a million dollars in unpaid rent nixed all that. In the Sentinel’s place, Midtown has planned a $75 million mixed-use redevelopment project, featuring office, hotel, retail and parking at the downtown spot, according to the Orlando Business Journal.
It was an offer for $240 million that led to the Chicago Tribune handing over the keys to its iconic Tribune Tower. The 34-story neo-Gothic highrise was spurred out of a design competition launched by the paper in 1922, a token of the promise and prosperity in the newspaper industry at time. Nearly a hundred years later, however, the site would fall out of their hands, transferring ownership to CIM Group in 2016. It has since been retrofitted for 162 luxury condominiums with price tags ranging from $700,000 to more than $7 million, according to The Architect’s Newspaper. The remodel, led by architectural firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz, maintains most of the historic landmark’s original design and infrastructure, including the paper’s grand lobby, the Hall of Inscriptions, as well as its iconic buttresses and watchful gargoyles.
The Dallas Morning News shifted out of its longtime headquarters at 508 Young Street in 2017 in favor of another building by architect George Dahl — the city’s old public library. The 8-acre complex in the Downtown Historic District was purchased by Charter Holdings President Ray Washburne for $28 million in 2020, according to the outlet, who eyed big plans for the site, aiming to transform its 1940’s architecture into a retro entertainment district that would complement business from the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center around the corner. Plans for the location include a 130-room boutique hotel made out of the paper’s original newsroom, nicknamed the “Rock of Truth” building for the inscription on its facade, as well as transforming the location’s defunct printing presses into a multi-level performance venue.
The Los Angeles Times evacuated its office in the Times Mirror Square complex in 2018 following a $100 million sale to the Canadian developer Omni Group. Since then, the campus has been completely reimagined, with development currently underway to introduce two residential towers to the site, the Los Angeles Times reported. The buildings, staggering at 37 and 53-stories high, will house 1,127 apartments between them as well as retail stores and restaurants. The proposal also plans to restore two adjacent buildings, including the historic former home of the newspaper, creating more than 300,000 square feet of rentable office space in downtown L.A.
Although Connecticut’s New Haven Register has switched locations a handful of times, the transformation of its spot at 40 Sargent Drive in the city’s Long Wharf neighborhood may arguably be the most unusual on the list. The 200,000 square foot office space, which the paper ditched in 2012, has since been redeveloped into a Jordan’s Furniture, according to property records. Propped beside a massive IKEA, the former newsroom and its dead printing press houses the New England-based furniture retailer. As part of the store’s master plan, it also includes the country’s largest indoor ropes course as well as an ice cream parlor and pizza kitchen.