The Star Tribune Media Co. will move its newsroom and headquarters to the Capella Tower complex in downtown Minneapolis, the company announced Thursday, leaving behind the building that was first home to the Minneapolis Daily Star 95 years ago.
When it takes over nearly three floors of Capella’s adjoining Park Building, Minnesota’s largest media outlet will have a new home in the heart of downtown. The 20-story edifice will be renamed the Star Tribune Building; the move is expected to be completed by mid-2015.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to create new offices that will incorporate the needs of a 21st-century news organization,” said Mike Klingensmith, publisher and CEO of the Star Tribune. “We are also pleased that we will be centrally located in downtown Minneapolis, which is so clearly undergoing a new period of vitality.”
The Star Tribune’s current headquarters at 425 Portland Av. is in the middle of a development resurgence in Downtown East, highlighted by the construction of the new Vikings stadium. The Star Tribune recently sold five blocks of property, including the site of its headquarters, for $38.5 million to make way for a $400 million mixed-use development by Ryan Cos.
The Ryan project calls for two office towers to be occupied by Wells Fargo, apartments, retail and restaurant space, and a public park — all slated for an area of downtown that has long been without wholesale development. The Star Tribune’s headquarters will be demolished to make way for the park.
The company’s new location at Capella Tower will be home to more than 600 employees from the newsroom, sales and marketing, circulation and other corporate departments. Terms of the lease were not disclosed.
Steve Cramer, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, applauded the move, emphasizing that it’s essential for the city’s newspaper to remain part of the downtown landscape.
“I think about institutions like the major daily paper being in downtown as a ratification of the strength of downtown and the role of downtown as the center of economic and business life,” he said.
The 56-story Capella Tower, known for its telltale halo cap, is the second-tallest skyscraper in Minnesota, behind the IDS Center. The building was erected as the headquarters of First Bank, now US Bancorp. The Park Building, where the Star Tribune will be located, is an adjoining tower in the office complex.
The building has been owned by Washington, D.C.-based ASB Real Estate since 2006, and is managed by Ryan Cos. The first two floors are undergoing a $7 million renovation by Minneapolis-based RJM Construction.
The Star Tribune plans to create a street-level presence for its brand through signage and other features.
“The combination of the Star Tribune and some large-scale renovations to the public areas further solidifies Capella Tower as the premier office tower in Minneapolis,” said Brodie Ruland, ASB’s senior vice president.
News of the Star Tribune’s move comes two days after it was announced that Mankato billionaire Glen Taylor has made a formal offer to acquire the company for an undisclosed price. The Star Tribune and Taylor have signed a letter of intent for a possible deal, pending the outcome of a 60-day review of the company’s operations. The sale could close by the end of May.
In recent years, newspapers across the country, including those in Detroit, San Jose, Miami and Philadelphia, have sold their longtime headquarters buildings. The Star Tribune’s distinctive limestone-and-granite building was erected as a four-story brownstone in 1919 for the Minneapolis Daily Star, and has undergone multiple expansions and renovations.
The upstart Daily Star was founded by the Nonpartisan League, a populist movement that swept the Upper Midwest in the early 1900s. The paper was purchased by the Cowles family in 1935 and ultimately became the cornerstone of their media holdings.
The Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission voted against demolition of the building, arguing that the building’s midcentury and Art Moderne elements were architecturally significant. The City Council overruled that decision.
The Star Tribune has retained Minneapolis-based HGA Inc. to design its new office space. HGA is the state’s largest architecture and engineering firm, and has been lauded for its work on renovations to the Minnesota Zoo and the Minnesota Public Radio building in St. Paul.
Jones Lang LaSalle will serve as project manager to oversee the build-out and relocation process. Broker Russ Nelson of the Minneapolis firm Nelson, Tietz & Hoye represented the Star Tribune.
The Star Tribune will retain its Heritage printing and distribution plant in the North Loop, where it employs about 600 people.