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Texas Newspaper Evolution Puts Prime Development Sites in Play

The Houston Chronicle building, 801 Texas Ave., has been sold to Hines. Photo credit: Ralph Bivins of Realty News Report.

The Houston Chronicle building, 801 Texas Ave., has been sold to Hines. Photo credit: Ralph Bivins of Realty News Report.

AUSTIN and HOUSTON — Paper, ink and expensive downtown real estate seem be going out of vogue as newspapers evolve in the digital age.

The latest chapter: The Austin American-Statesman is selling its prime property on the south side of Austin’s downtown.

This comes on the heels of a monumental shake-up with the Houston Chronicle’s real estate. In October, the Hines development firm bought the Houston Chronicle building on Texas Avenue in downtown for a reported $50 million.

In the first quarter of 2016, the Chronicle will be relocating to the former Houston Post building on the Southwest Freeway, near Loop 610.

Hines is expected to demolish the Chronicle building and develop a dense high-rise project.

The American-Statesman property in Austin could become a major multi-tower development. The newspaper’s Shonda Novak reports that the site could accommodate 3 million square feet of development.

The Statesman’s 18.9-acre site has frontage on South Congress Avenue and Lady Bird Lake – an outstanding Class AA location. The site is being sold to a family entity associated with Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises, the company that owns the Austin newspaper.

The newspaper’s publisher says the American-Statesman will continue to operate at that location, although the printing has been outsourced to Hearst Corp. presses in San Antonio and Houston.

The American-Statesman site, like the former Houston Chronicle property in downtown, are both prime properties that will be used for major new developments in the not-to-distant future. Watch for some big headlines in 2016.

— By Ralph Bivins, Editor, Realty News Report

Dec. 21, 2015

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