Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Chicago Tribune To Relocate Newsroom, Offices To Printing Facility

Freedom Center

The Chicago Tribune and its parent company will relocate out of Prudential Plaza at the end of this month, leaving the city’s largest newspaper without a downtown office less than three years after its exit from the landmark Tribune Tower.

The Tribune newsroom will move to the Freedom Center printing facility along the Chicago River north of downtown, employees were told in a memo Monday afternoon.

The Tribune’s move comes almost a year into a near shutdown of downtown Chicago offices because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also follows years of cost-cutting measures by the Chicago-based newspaper company.

Because of the pandemic, it’s unclear when large numbers of journalists will move into the Freedom Center space, the company said. Employees were told to retrieve their personal belongings from Prudential Plaza by Feb. 28.

“Our decision to move our offices from Prudential to Freedom Center helps to reorganize our physical footprint as we continue to navigate the pandemic, position the company for long-term sustainability and ensure the health of our organization for the future,” Tribune Publishing spokesman Max Reinsdorf said in a statement. “Employees will be informed of details as they are finalized.”

The statement did not say whether the company has negotiated a buyout of the lease with property owner Sterling Bay or if Tribune Publishing intends to try to sublease the space to other tenants. Sterling Bay CEO Andy Gloor declined to comment.

The newspaper company’s biggest shareholder, Alden Global Capital, is known for cutting costs even during more typical economic times. Tribune Publishing in August said it was closing five newsrooms outright, including those of the New York Daily News and Orlando Sentinel, with plans to have employees work remotely. The company recently closed the Hartford Courant’s newsroom.

The Tribune moved to One Prudential Plaza in June 2018, after 93 years at Tribune Tower on North Michigan Avenue. In the deal, the newsroom and other Chicago Tribune offices moved into lower floors of the 41-story tower, with Tribune Publishing’s corporate headquarters offices taking over the top two floors, 40 and 41.

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