Thursday, June 21, 2018
Business

Tampa Tribune owner looks to split properties on Hillsborough River

TAMPA — As the parent company of the Tampa Tribune looks to sell the newspaper, it has asked the city of Tampa about splitting two properties it owns overlooking the Hillsborough River.

Media General of Richmond, Va., has filed a three-page application asking whether splitting its properties at 200 and 202 S Parker St. would require city approval.

"Media General Operations Inc. is seeking a formal decision that a proposed parcel split will not trigger the need for any application process through the city of Tampa's (office of) land development coordination," according to the request, which was signed by Kenneth Campbell, Media General's director of real estate and facilities in Virginia.

Media General said in a news release this week that it "expects to enter into a transaction with one of several prospective buyers" for the Tribune and its associated print properties, which include regional newspapers. It offered no details on the timing of a sale or the identities of the potential buyers.

The building at 202 S Parker St. contains the old offices of the Tribune.

In 2000, Media General converged three operations — the Tribune, NBC affiliate WFLA-Ch. 8 and Tampa Bay Online — in a $40 million News Center that it built immediately to the north of the newspaper building.

In May, a subsidiary of billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway agreed to pay $142 million for every newspaper that Media General owned — a total of 63 print operations — except the Tribune. As part of the deal, Media General kept its broadcast operations, including WFLA, borrowed $400 million from Buffett's company and gave it the right to a nearly 17 percent stake in Media General. Berkshire Hathaway exercised that right this week.

In July, Media General said it was in discussion with prospective buyers for its Tampa print properties and associated websites. At the same time, it set aside the Tribune for accounting purposes as a "discontinued operation" and said a sale was "probable."

The public has until Oct. 5 to comment on Media General's request to the city, said Thomas Snelling, Tampa's director of planning and development. After that, city zoning officials have 30 days to consider the facts and render their interpretation. While people can share their opinions, the process is purely administrative and does not go to the City Council.

Together, the real estate parcels that are the subject of Media General's request have a market value of about $15.5 million, according to the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser's Office.

The property appraiser says the land that makes up the two parcels in question is valued at $3.7 million, but does not break down the value of each parcel separately. The depreciated values of the old Tribune building and the News Center are about $935,000 and $10.7 million, respectively, according to the property appraiser.

In addition, the company has $12.6 million in tangible property — such as equipment, technology and printing presses — on both parcels. Of that, $4.5 million in equipment belongs to WFLA. The Tribune has $1.7 million in equipment at the News Center and $6.4 million in equipment in its old building.

Neither Tribune publisher Bill Barker, Katherine O'Donniley, a Tampa lawyer who is the company's agent on its request to the city, nor Media General vice president of corporate communications Lou Anne J. Nabhan returned calls for comment Wednesday.

Richard Danielson can be reached at d[email protected] or (813) 226-3403.

Comments
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Associated PressFlorida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement T...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Updated: 5 hours ago
WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

Mike Piper has traveled to Las Vegas and Miami and enjoyed the fun, daytime, party pool scene that the two cities have to offer.Now he aims to bring that same atmosphere to Tampa with a new dining and hang out spot. WTR Pool & Grill opened on Sunday ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

A new resale store has made its way to South Tampa. Grace Family Church recently opened Vintage Etc., to provide affordable, quality merchandise to the community and continue its outreach to help families in need in a loving Christian environment. "W...
Updated: 7 hours ago
2.4 million Floridians expected to travel for Fourth of July

2.4 million Floridians expected to travel for Fourth of July

Summer has officially started and so have summer travel plans. About 2.4 million Floridians are expected to travel for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, up 6.3 percent from last year, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group."We are already seeing a b...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Taylor Morrison builds in Wesley Chapel

Taylor Morrison builds in Wesley Chapel

Taylor Morrison will build a new subdivision off of Boyette Road between Wesley Chapel Boulevard and Overpass Road.The builder and developer recently broke ground on Chapel Chase, set on approximately 40 acres just north of New Tampa in Pasco County....
Updated: 8 hours ago
Grain and Berry Cafe to bring its healthy menu to USF area

Grain and Berry Cafe to bring its healthy menu to USF area

Grain & Berry Cafe opened in Palm Harbor, and now the healthy eatery is rapidly expanding throughout the Tampa Bay area.The healthy eatery opened a new location on E Fowler Ave near the University of South Florida in May, just 10 months after opening...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Supreme Court: Online shoppers can be forced to pay sales tax

Supreme Court: Online shoppers can be forced to pay sales tax

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax.The 5-4 ruling Thursday is a win for states, who said they were losing out on billions of dollars annually under two decades-old Supreme Court decisions that impact...
Updated: 9 hours ago