When the Miami Heralds downtown headquarters opened in March 1963, the boxy beacon on the bay gave the citys growing skyline a unique new landmark.
But 12 miles west in Doral, there wasnt much of anything other than the golf resort and miles of swampland. The Palmetto Expressway was just 2 years old.
A half-century later, Doral is an economic, media and government hub. Its home to Carnival Cruise Lines, Ryder, Perry Ellis International, CBS4, Univision 23, Miami-Dade County Police, the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Southern Command. And beginning last month, the Miami Herald Media Company, with its approximately 650-person workforce.
The Heralds offices are housed in a two-story, 160,000-square-foot building that served as the former center for the U.S. Southern Command, and its new 119,000-square-foot printing plant is on land purchased next door. The company is using 110,000 square feet of office space.
We are perfectly positioned for the present and the future, said Aminda Marqués Gonzalez, executive editor of the Miami Herald. We have a state-of-the-art newsroom for the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald and a new printing plant that will keep us in the forefront of providing news.
Back east, the Biscayne Bay location is expected to be leveled soon. The building served as the creative base for journalistic luminaries like Gene Miller, Dave Barry, Carl Hiaasen, Edwin Pope, Edna Buchanan and Leonard Pitts Jr., as well as publishing innovators like Alvah Chapman and Roberto Suarez, a former company president and the founder and publisher of el Nuevo Herald.
Nineteen of the Heralds 20 Pulitzer Prizes were won during the 50 years at One Herald Plaza. International leaders, entertainment celebrities and star athletes have all passed through the doors, a testament to the papers far-reaching influence. The building withstood Hurricane Andrew, race riots and the suicide of a troubled county commissioner. The location even survived the newspapers sale in 2006.
But when the Genting Group offered $236 million for the 14-acre waterfront property in 2011, the Heralds downtown days were numbered. The Malaysian development mega-firm hopes to someday bring gambling to Miami, putting a massive casino at that location.
They believed our site was special, and couldnt be had anywhere else, said David Landsberg, Miami Herald Media Co. president and publisher. The price was extraordinary.
After the sale to Genting was finalized, the hurried, wide-reaching search for a new home began. The company was open to almost anywhere in Miami-Dade, within these boundaries: west of U.S. 1, east of the Palmetto, south of the Gratigny and north of the Dolphin. It quickly became clear that moving to another center-city location would have been cost-prohibitive, Landsberg said.
While remaining in Miamis urban core would have held symbolic significance, there just isnt the same need now for a downtown footprint as there was in the 1960s, Landsberg said.
Back then, the bay wasnt just a source of breathtaking views. It was also a vital mode of transportation. At that time, newsprint was delivered by barge, which would pull up to the buildings back dock.
Furthermore, Miamis epicenter then was its downtown. There simply werent many suburbs. Now, our readers are all over the place, Landsberg said.