New Owner Moving LA Times Out of Historic Downtown Digs

Headquarters for the Los Angeles Times in downtown LA. New owner owner Patrick Soon-Shiong announced Friday the newspaper would move to nearby El Segundo later this summer. (Nathan Solis/CNS)

LOS ANGELES (CN) – The Los Angeles Times will leave its downtown headquarters later this summer for a temporary location in El Segundo southwest of LA, the newspaper’s incoming owner said at an employee meeting on Friday.

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong purchased the Times in February for $500 million, and on Friday said he plans to move the newspaper out of its historic and iconic art deco building to a location about 20 miles west of downtown.

Soon-Shiong, 64, the billionaire founder and chief executive of Culver City-based health care marketing and developing company NantHealth, is expected to finalize the deal with Tronc in the coming weeks according to a source familiar with the deal but not authorized to discuss it.

That deal severed the newspaper from the Chicago-based Tronc and capped a noisy relationship between the newsroom and corporate managers.

The Los Angeles Times newsroom has experienced a rollercoaster 2018, including a feud with former editor-in-chief Lewis D’Vorkin, who lasted three months at the position and was recently leg go from the parent company. In January, the newsroom formed a union in a landslide vote.

Now the Times will move west to El Segundo, situated near the Pacific Coast and Los Angeles International Airport.

On Friday, the newspaper’s staff met with Soon-Shiong in downtown Los Angeles where he announced the move to a temporary location, according to Times staff who took to Twitter with the news.

The Times reported after the meeting Soon-Shiong plans to build a campus in El Segundo that will include an eight-floor building and museum to avoid $1 million a month rent after their lease is up.

The Times parent company sold its downtown building to Canadian developers in 2016, who plan to convert the site to creative office spaces and residential units. The newspaper’s lease runs out by the end of June.

The newspaper has been at its downtown site since 1935 when the art deco building, designed by famed architect Gordon B. Kaufmann, was constructed.

Along with the move, Soon-Shiong will also have to contend with another topic at the newspaper: pay disparity. Tronc underpaid women and journalists of color by wide margins, according to the study commissioned by the newspaper’s union and released earlier this week.

High-earning senior reporters are much more likely to be white men. The pay gap between men and women is about $14,000 and between white and non-white journalists is $19,000, the study found.

The gap between white men and white women was $14,000. The same gap was found between non-white men and non-white women who were paid less at the newspaper, according to the survey that looked at pay data for 330 journalists.

In a statement Soon-Shiong said the Times will be building a legacy campus and moving in on July 1.

“Our new campus will have capabilities that support the kind of innovative, digital journalism that I have already seen come out of LA Times Studio, including capabilities for producing podcasts and one of the largest green screens in the region,” Soon-Shiong said.

Soon-Shiong adds management will be exploring how to maintain a presence in downtown near all the important institutions it covers, including county and federal courts and local government.

%d bloggers like this: