The owner of the Press-Telegram newspaper has agreed to sell its historic headquarters in Long Beach to a local developer who plans to turn the property into condominiums for first-time home buyers.
The move is one of the latest steps in the city's downtown housing boom, transforming the once-neglected area with more than 4,000 housing units planned or under construction.
October Five Development, a small Long Beach-based developer, is buying the 80-year-old building on 2.45 acres for $20 million, said Jim Brophy, a partner at October Five. The sale is contingent on the city rezoning the parcel for high-density residential use, but is expected to close in April.
The developers hope to start construction next fall on 482 units in two towers of 20 and 22 stories. The facade and a portion of the original 1925 structure at 604 Pine Ave. would be retained in the tentatively named Press-Telegram Lofts. Completion is slated for early 2008.
"The whole project is aimed at middle-income housing," Brophy said. Units should start in the high $200,000s to low $300,000s and top out in the high $500,000s.
Press-Telegram offices will move to three floors of leased space in Arco Center off Ocean Boulevard in downtown Long Beach, the newspaper said in a story about the transaction.
The 42,661-square-foot office lease is one of the largest recent commercial deals downtown, said real estate broker Bill Townsend of Inco Co., who represented the newspaper in its sale and lease.
Press-Telegram executives at MediaNews Group Inc. were not looking to move until they were approached by developers, they said.
Revitalization of the downtown core began in earnest about five years ago, said Todd Cutts, economic development manager at Downtown Long Beach Associates, a trade group. About 872 residential units have been completed and 4,371 more are planned or under construction.
"There is a strong demand for housing," Townsend said. "Downtown is going through a huge transformation."
In addition to the Press-Telegram, MediaNews Group also publishes the Los Angeles Daily News and the Pasadena Star-News.