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Ex-L.A. Times plant in Costa Mesa is sold in $65-million deal

COSTA MESA, February 18, 2016 - The former L.A. Times building in Costa Mesa is now planned for rede
The former Los Angeles Times building in Costa Mesa and an adjacent property have been sold for about $65 million. The Times opened the facility in 1968 and vacated it in 2014.
(File Photo)

The former Los Angeles Times plant in Costa Mesa, which has been slated for a revamp as an office complex, has been sold to new owners as part of a $65-million deal, according to a news release Thursday.

A joint venture that includes SteelWave LLC — owner of the Hive office complex next door, whose tenants include the Los Angeles Chargers — bought the roughly 25-acre property at 1375 Sunflower Ave. from Tribune Real Estate Holdings and Kearny Real Estate Co. The purchase also includes an adjacent parcel at 3370 Harbor Blvd. that contains a baseball field.

For the past few years, Los Angeles-based Kearny has been pursuing a $100-million effort to redevelop the former Times facility into a creative office complex dubbed the Press, a name that plays off the property’s history as a newsroom and printing plant beginning in 1968. The plans included building nearly 340,000 square feet of office space within the former plant.

Kearny marketed the building to potential tenants for its unique features such as 50-foot-tall clearances “that will give way to multi-tiered, high-volume tenant spaces.” The company also said there was room for three acres of outdoor amenities such as an amphitheater and a volleyball court, as well as a 20,000-square-foot enclosed patio.

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In August, the Costa Mesa Planning Commission adopted a preliminary master plan for the site.

Former L.A. Times printing plant in O.C. may become creative office space
A rendering shows the front of The Press, a planned $100-million makeover of the former Los Angeles Times facility in Costa Mesa.
(Courtesy of Kearny Real Estate Co. )

It was unclear Thursday whether SteelWave is continuing with Kearny’s original vision or has other plans. SteelWave did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

However, Kearny’s managing partner, Jeff Dritley, said in a statement that his company has “confidence that SteelWave will do an excellent job on the next phase of it and [will] fulfill our vision to deliver a one-of-a-kind creative office campus.”

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Hoonie Kang, a partner at Kearny, said SteelWave approached his firm about acquiring the property.

“They felt it made a lot of sense to control that entire block,” Kang said.

The Press, depicted in a rendering, would include many amenities common to “creative office” develop
The Press, depicted in a rendering, was promoted to potential tenants for amenities such as grills and outdoor seating.
(Courtesy of Kearny Real Estate Co. )

Kang said Kearny added value to the property in recent years by gaining various entitlements and approvals.

Staff of The Times and the Daily Pilot vacated the Sunflower Avenue plant in October 2014. What remained of the presses — which were closed in 2010 — was dismantled around that time. At its peak, the plant had about 1,000 employees and printed approximately 250,000 newspapers daily.

Tribune Real Estate is a subsidiary of Tribune Media Co., which was created in 2014 when Chicago-based Tribune Co. — then the owner of The Times and its affiliates, like the Daily Pilot — split in two.

The second company, Tribune Publishing — later renamed tronc — owns and operates The Times and Pilot.

bradley.zint@latimes.com

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Twitter: @BradleyZint


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