AUSTIN – (Realty News Report) – The Austin American-Statesman, the leading newspaper in the state capital for decades, reports it is being sold to New York-based GateHouse Media for $47.5 million.
The sale does not include the prime 19-acre Statesman property and main newsroom building on the southern edge of downtown Austin. The Statesman campus, 305 Congress Avenue, has a scenic oak-studded waterfront on Lady Bird Lake, near major hotels and condominiums.
The newspaper, which has daily circulation of 85,000, is being sold by Cox Enterprises. The deal will close April 2, according to a report by Shonda Novak, the real estate writer for the Statesman.
The Statesman property is owned by members of the Cox family, who are planning a major mixed-use redevelopment with a master plan by the Skidmore Owings & Merrill architecture firm. Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate is the development partner on the project. CMG Landscape Architecture has been retained for the development, planned for as much as 2.1 million SF of retail, office, residential units and a hotel.
GateHouse publishes 130 daily newspapers. Last week, GateHouse closed on the purchase of the Eugene Register-Guard in Oregon.
Formerly known as Liberty Group Publishing, GateHouse was purchased in 2005 by Fortress Investment Group, which changed the name to GateHouse Media. A year later, it bought Community Newspaper Co. of Massachusetts as well as its competitor, Enterprise News Media, and, by the end of that year, it acquired the Bay State holdings of Journal Register Co. As a result, it took ownership of the Brockton Enterprise, Taunton Gazette, Fall River Herald, Cape Cod Times and Patriot Ledger in Massachusetts, among others. In 2014, the firm purchased the Providence Journal, the largest daily newspaper in Rhode Island.
In its time, it has taken under its wing newspapers and ad sheets in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, New York, Illinois, Kansas, Virginia and West Virginia, among other states. The firm owns several properties in Texas, including papers in Lubbock, Amarillo, Stephenville, Waxahachie, Alice and Brownwood.
GateHouse is one of the nation’s largest newspaper publishing and website development companies, which prepares content, edits copy and designs pages at a centralized facility in Austin in the Northview Business Center near Interstate 35.
In addition to publishing its own chain of newspapers, GateHouse also serves commercial clients at the center in Austin.
The center offers a range of content services to GateHouse Media’s newspapers and also to commercial clients. These include copy editing and page design, web development and training. Today, the print editions of more than 200 GateHouse Media newspapers are designed and edited at the center, alongside product development for their companion web and mobile sites.