A Minneapolis investor has agreed to purchase the Duluth News Tribune building.
The developer, who asked to be unnamed until more details are finalized, entered into a purchase agreement with Forum Communications, which owns the News Tribune, within the last week. The News Tribune staff will remain in the building (424 W. First St.) and operate out of the top floor, while the other space will be redeveloped and leased out.
It’s the buyer’s first time developing a Duluth property. The buyer said he purchased the building because it was in a good location, situated in an opportunity zone and was a reasonably good business deal. Opportunity zones are designated areas where new developments may be eligible for preferential tax treatment, according to the IRS.
The 69-year-old News Tribune building was put on the market for $2.9 million in the summer of 2017. Since then, the price decreased and was last listed at $1.9 million, according to the website of Greg Follmer, the broker handling the deal.
Forum and the developer entered into an agreement to buy the building within the last week, Follmer said. Now, there’s a 120-day due diligence period where the buyer can back out or the price can change as inspections are done. The developer said he's almost certain he will close on the building, which will be scheduled within a month of the due diligence period ending.
The News Tribune will lease back around 8,500 square feet in the building’s top floor. Around five years ago, the News Tribune’s production operation was moved out of the building’s basement to a production center on Airpark Boulevard.
“We get to stay in what’s been our home,” said Publisher Neal Ronquist. “We’re excited that (the buyer) is making this purchase and eager to see how he redevelops and eager to be a part of the building going forward.”
The building's selling price wasn’t immediately made public.