The Miami Herald Media Company announced plans Thursday to move its headquarters to a Doral building that once housed the U.S. Southern Command. The company will build a new printing plant on property it is buying next door.
The Herald publisher of newspapers, websites, multimedia content and magazines in English and Spanish signed a 15-year lease on the two-story office building, which will house its business and news operations. Construction is expected to begin on the printing plant in April; the move is slated to be completed by May 25, 2013.
David Landsberg, The Heralds president and publisher, told employees that they should view this move as a sign of confidence in The Heralds future.
McClatchy fully believes in us and they obviously understand the opportunity that exists in this marketplace, Landsberg said, referring to The Heralds parent company. Lets thank McClatchy for the investment and faith they have shown in us.
The new location at 3511 NW 91st Ave. encompasses 15 acres in the Westpoint Business Park in Doral, four miles west of Miami International Airport. The purchase of the land is expected to close within the next several months. Blanca Commercial Real Estate President and CEO TereBlanca represented The Herald on the deal.
The Herald has been searching for a new home since its corporate parent, the McClatchy Co., sold the 13.9-acre downtown Miami Herald property on May 27, 2011, for $236 million to the Genting Group, which hopes to build a $3.8 billion destination resort with a casino. The Herald has the right to remain at its current location rent-free until May 2013.
The 108-year-old media company has called the location on Biscayne Bay home since 1963, and many business leaders wanted the company to remain in Miamis central business district.
But Landsberg said finding sufficient office space in that area wasnt possible given the companys budget and the need for extensive and preferably free parking. The company also considered separating its offices from its printing operations, but was unable to locate existing warehouse space in Miami-Dade or Broward counties large enough for The Heralds printing presses.
It would not be smart to saddle this company with occupancy costs that did not make sense, said Landsberg, who estimates costs would have been about double in the downtown area over what the company will spend. We needed a great place to be, but we also needed it to be a cost-effective place to be.
Office space in the airport area, which includes Doral, averages $24.79 per square foot, while similar space in the Downtown Miami area costs about 30 percent more, averaging $36.33, according to research by Jones Lang LaSalle, an office brokerage firm not involved with the deal. Parking in downtown adds additional costs that can be as high as $6 more per square foot.
When youre looking for 150,000 square feet and that many employees, its really cost-prohibitive, said Jonathan Kingsley, senior vice president with Jones Lang LaSalle. I think it comes down to costs and logistics.
The move comes at a time when the newspaper industry has struggled with changing media consumption habits and declining revenues. Landsberg said The Heralds total reach has increased thanks to multimedia distribution.