Herald-Sun to sell Pickett Road building

May. 12, 2013 @ 02:06 AM

The Herald-Sun plans to sell its 23-year-old building at 2828 Pickett Road and build or lease smaller space elsewhere in Durham.

The paper’s managers told employees of the plans Thursday, and Publisher Rick Bean explains the decision in a column in The Herald-Sun today.

“Recognizing that our space needs fall well short of the square footage of our building, we will be selling our physical plant and moving to another Durham location, hopefully sometime in the not-too-distant future,” Bean writes in the column. He notes that many other newspapers have made similar decisions recently, reflecting an industry that is “leaner and more focused.”

Company managers considered leasing unused space, but concluded the cost of upfitting and real estate commissions would postpone any financial benefits for several years.

“We’re not property managers. We’re in the newspaper business,” Bean said in a note to employees.

The paper will continue to operate at the Pickett Road location while it seeks a buyer and conducts a search for a new location. Sale of the more than 100,000-square-foot facility is being handled by Pickett-Sprouse Real Estate Inc, of Durham.

“This actually is a very positive thing,” Bean said. “We’re reacting to an operating expense issue in a way that does not challenge the core mission of this newspaper – which is to deliver the local news and advertising of and for Durham.”