The Times’ downtown LA print shop will close in 2024

The Times will leave its downtown Los Angeles printing plant in 2024, ending an era of newspaper production at a sprawling factory that was sold by the newspaper’s former owner.

Printing operations will continue at the Olympic Boulevard plant for a year and a half, said Chris Argentieri, president and chief operating officer of The Times, before The Times begins working with the Southern California News Group to print his newspapers.

“Despite the difficult news, we are providing this notice to help make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone involved,” Argentieri said. “We hope manufacturing employees will continue with us for as long as they can and work closely with them on the transition process.”

About 170 employees work at the Olympic factory, said Times spokeswoman Hillary Manning.

“I have huge respect for the manufacturing team,” Argentieri said. “Their dedication to the print products we produce and to our readers is humbling.”

Times management did not provide additional information on the future status of print production employees.

The Times’ lease at the Olympic factory expires at the end of 2023, according to property data provider CoStar.

“We have a long-term lease in place, but several factors prevent us from continuing to print at [Olympic], including a drastically changed real estate market, a decline in print volume and the owner’s intention to redevelop the property,” Argentieri said. “The pandemic has accelerated these trends.”

The factory, built by the Times in the late 1980s to replace outdated printing operations at its old downtown headquarters, was retained by the former owner of the Times Tribune Co. after the release of the company from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2012.

The newspaper became a tenant of the mill in 2014 after The Times spun off as part of Tribune Publishing.

The sprawling 26-acre Olympic print shop has been sold twice in the past decade.

Los Angeles owner and builder Harridge Development Group bought the factory in 2016 for $120 million and was to redevelop the property. In 2019, New York real estate developer Atlas Capital Group paid around $240 million for the site.

Last year, Atlas announced plans to redevelop the site into a Hollywood-style lot with 17 sound stages to meet strong regional demand for film and television production facilities.

The project was approved in May, said Paul Audley, president of FilmLA, the nonprofit organization that administers filming permits in the area. Construction of the land is expected to begin in 2023 and be completed in 2026.

When The Times leaves the Olympic factory in 2024, it will begin working with the Southern California News Group to produce its print editions with the San Diego Union-Tribune, which is part of the Times corporation, Argentieri said.

The company is committed to giving print newspapers “the longest possible life and continuing that tradition for our customers and our communities,” he said.

Matt Pearce – Times reporter and president of Media Guild of the West, which represents newsroom staff at the Times and the Southern California News Group – said management told him the Times had no plans to cut the printing schedule or laying off newsroom employees. represented by the union.

Former Times business owners dismantled the paper’s assets “as they plundered journalism for profit, which led to the formation of our guild in 2018,” Pearce said.

“Their schemes have turned our journalists and press workers into tenants of our own homes – paying rent to disinterested property developers who could have made down payments on our digital future,” he said. “Somewhere the culprits are resting comfortably tonight.”

The print shop’s transformation comes amid a surge in demand for production space and a wave of upgrades to old studios.

The owner of the Television Center, which once housed Technicolor and Metro Pictures Corp.’s film lab, announced a $600 million project to modernize the historic Art Deco studio site in Hollywood earlier this year.

Developers are also upgrading old studios such as Warner Bros. Ranch in Burbank and Universal Studios and invent brand new ones, including one on the property of the former Sears store in Hollywood.

According to FilmLA, existing sound stages in Los Angeles County have been almost fully leased for years, which can make it difficult for new productions to find work locations.

Although the Los Angeles area has the most sound stages of any city in the world, studios are operating at nearly 100% capacity with waiting lists as long as five film productions for these spaces, a said financial adviser Deloitte in a report last year.

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