The downtown Asheville building that’s been home to the Asheville Citizen-Times newspaper for 80 years sold this week for $5.25 million to a longtime downtown property owner and developer.

Ashvegas reported the pending sale two months ago. As stated then, the local sale of the building caps a decade of unrelenting cost-cutting measures by the newspaper’s parent company, Gannett. Seeking to stave off steady revenue losses triggered by declines in print circulation and print advertising, the Asheville Citizen-Times has laid off dozens of employees, closed its local printing plant, reduced the size of the print product and shrunken the circulation footprint of a publication that once boasted a wide reach across the mountains of Western North Carolina.

The sale of the building also continues a trend of Gannett (and other newspaper companies) selling off valuable downtown buildings that have been historic homes to its newspapers. With newspaper staffs drastically smaller, it just doesn’t make sense for them to remain in massive, under-utilized buildings. From Memphis to Nashville, and from Rochester to Indianapolis, Gannett has sold off newspaper buildings.

David and Nathan Brown bought the building at 14 O.Henry Ave. from a company that first bought it and others from Gannett. Brown has been a longtime downtown property owner and developer.

The Citizen-Times has plans to lease back space from the new owner for the next three years, according to newspaper story about the building sale. The newsroom, which was moved from the second floor to the first floor a few years ago, will move back to the second floor and share space with its advertising department. David Brown told the newspaper he plans to renovate the interior of all three floors and the basement to fit the needs of new tenants. No other changes are planned. (Important note: the newspapers valuable archives will remain in the building.)

The Asheville Citizen and the The Asheville Times were once printed and delivered every morning and every evening inside the downtown building. The newspapers merged into one morning daily in the early 1990s, and the printing operation was moved to Sardis Road west of downtown.

The building was designed by a leading architect of the city, Anthony Lord. The structure sits on a street named after one of the most famous American short story writers, William Sydney Porter, who used the pen name O.Henry. He’s buried in Riverside Cemetery in Asheville’s Montford neighborhood.

 

4 Comments

  1. Wait, wait….let me guess….a hotel!

  2. So three years – that’s all Gannett is willing to let them say about AC-T’s future? I read the AC-T story – there was no “We look forward to serving Asheville and WNC for many years to come.”

    The AC-T currently does not have an editor or a publisher. Now they have no permanent home. The price of Gannett stock keeps going down, and the price of newsprint keeps going up. Doesn’t look good.

    Anybody want to start a paper in the Paris of the South?

    • Where is Julian Price when we need him? Has anyone talked to Mack Pearsal?

      From the NY Times:
      A Colorado civic group is spearheading an effort to buy The Denver Post, which on Sunday excoriated its owner, a New York hedge fund, in its opinion section by saying “Denver deserves a newspaper owner who supports its newsroom.”

      The group, Together For Colorado Springs, said it had begun contacting potential investors in the state, who have so far pledged $10 million to the effort.

      “We believe that The Denver Post is vital for Colorado,” John Weiss, the chairman of Together for Colorado Springs and the founder of The Colorado Springs Independent, a weekly newspaper, said in an interview.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

*