Jun 3, 2016 / City Center Investment Corporation has purchased The Morning Call building at Sixth and Linden streets in Downtown Allentown, Pennsylvania, with immediate plans to lease out its empty space. The roughly 250,000-square-foot building was listed for sale in February and is one of the largest remaining properties in the city’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ). The $8.5 million purchase includes the building’s nearby parking deck.
The sale of the building does not impact The Morning Call’s long-term lease that runs through 2022. The newspaper has been leasing its space in the building since 2014. Roughly half of the building contains the press used to print the daily paper, and the rest is office space that is only partially occupied by The Morning Call‘s approximately 400 employees.
City Center CEO J.B. Reilly said his first priority is to refill the building. Changes in the newspaper industry have reduced the media company’s staff over the last decade, leaving about 40,000 square feet of underused space that could be leased out.
The building adds lower-cost, “class B” office space to the “class A” offices in newly built high-rises that the developer has been able to offer prospective business tenants interested in coming downtown, Reilly said.
“There are a number of companies we have spoken with that would be interested in moving downtown but want something less expensive,” Reilly said.
The Morning Call has not owned the building, which dates to 1930, for two years. Tribune Media, the Chicago company that spun off its publishing division, including The Morning Call and the rest of its newspaper properties in 2014 into a new entity called Tribune Publishing, retained control of the real estate.
In the near future, City Center plans to find tenants to fill the empty office space in the building. The property, which resides on an entire city block, links two portions of the NIZ: the central area around Seventh and Hamilton streets and the Sacred Heart Hospital area around Penn and Chew streets.
City Center’s purchase of the building was financed with a private non-NIZ loan through Peoples Security Bank &Trust Company.
More about the sale of The Morning Call building in the media:
- “City Center buys The Morning Call’s building,” The Morning Call, June 2, 2016
- “The Morning Call’s building sold,” WFMZ-TV Channel 69 News, June 2, 2016