BY DANIEL OFFNER
The New York Times Company may be looking to buy out its lease on the 500,386 sq. ft. printing facility in College Point, according to sources close to the negotiations.
Prior to the construction of the nationally distributed newspaper’s current headquarters at 620 Eighth Ave. in Manhattan, both corporate and printing operations were housed in its Times Square facility, until 1992, when the Times announced plans to lease the 31-acre property from the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
As part of a 35-year lease agreement, the City and State granted tax incentives, reduced energy costs and other benefits worth a total of $29 million, according to the Times.
The New York Times Company officially opened the $280 million printing plant in 1997. Its façade, featuring the newspaper’s iconic title print is a recognizable landmark for drivers on the Whitestone Expressway. At the time, it employed about 1,000 people for its press and distribution operations. It’s location near one of the few large vacant parcels of unused land in the city¬most of which was home to Flushing Airport until it closed in 1984¬make it an attractive site for developers.
Nearly 11 years later, in 2008, the Times would expand its facilities in College Point by 70,613 sq. ft., which subsequently resulted in the relocation of 190 employees from the publication’s Manhattan headquarters to College Point and the operation of approximately 20 additional delivery trucks based in Queens.
Rob MacKay, director of public relations for the Queens Economic Development Corporation, said that the QEDC is generally in favor of selling the property to a private business.
“It’s a clear sign buying land in Queens is a good investment; that it is a viable place to do business,” MacKay said.
Still under lease, the New York Times has already been approached by parties interested in acquiring the property.
The New York Times did not return requests for comment as of press time.
Reach Daniel Offner at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @DanielOffner.