LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The new owner of the Los Angeles Times plans to move the newspaper's headquarters out of its historic art deco building in downtown ``at least temporarily'' to suburban El Segundo this summer, the newspaper reported.
New owner Patrick Soon-Shiong told staff Friday that terms could not be reached with Canadian developer Onni, which owns the Times building on First and Spring streets, near City Hall where the Times has been based since 1935. El Segundo is about 19 miles from downtown.
Soon-Shiong, a biotech billionaire who agreed to buy the Times from media company Tronc for $500 million, said the paper's lease was up on the building at the end of June. He said Onni was asking $1 million per month, the Times reported.
Soon-Shiong said the Times' headquarters will move to El Segundo ``at least temporarily'' to a facility currently under construction.
``There's not much time for me to find accommodation for 800 people,'' Soon-Shiong told 300 employees gathered for the meeting, according to the Times. ``We decided that we needed to create the most modern newsroom ... one that respects the work and the lifestyle of the people who work in the newsroom.
``We need to build a campus that is there for the next 100 years, not lease a building.''
The new facility will include an eight-floor building on 4.5 acres with 120,000 square feet of space, the newspaper reported. A museum chronicling the Times' 136-year history would be located on the first floor.
There were audible gasps as the move was announced, the newspaper reported.
Times business editor Kimi Yoshino posted on Twitter that after the staff meeting, she walked back to the newsroom where ``everyone has Google Maps open on their screens, calculating new commute times.''
But Soon-Shiong said there could still be a Times satellite office downtown, possibly at the paper's printing plant on Olympic Boulevard, to accommodate staff reporting assignments nearby.
Soon-Shiong's purchase of the Times would return the newspaper to local ownership for the first time since the Tribune Company -- renamed Tronc --
bought it in 2000.
Times arts writer Carolina Miranda tweeted that the physician said he views the Times ``as a public service in the private sector'' and that social media aids ``in the metastasis of fake news.''
Prior to Soon-Shiong's first meeting with Times employees, former Los Angeles Times Editor in Chief Lewis D'Vorkin was fired by Tronc Thursday and several dozen other employees were laid off. D'Vorkin was the chief content officer of Tribune Interactive, a newly formed digital business unit of the Times' parent company. The reason for his removal was not announced.
In January, the Times' newsroom voted overwhelmingly to join the NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America -- in part out of what reporters said was frustration with corporate ownership and concerns about pay.
A month later, Tronc announced it had agreed to sell the Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune to Soon-Shiong. The deal is expected to close this month.
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