Marking a new era, The Los Angeles Times will move out of its historic location in downtown L.A., the incoming owner told staff at a meeting Friday.
Patrick Soon-Shiong told gathered staff that the Times' headquarters will move to El Segundo to gasps.
Carolina Miranda, an arts columnist for the Times, tweeted that Soon-Shiong said he had failed to come to terms with the developer who owns the building. Two years ago, Tribune Media sold the complex to the Onni Group, a Canadian developer with plans to use it for offices, shops and residential units.
The Times will move from downtown when its current lease expires on June 30.
By later in the day, it seemed unclear how temporary the move really would be.
The Times reported that "the new campus would include an eight-floor building with 120,000 square feet of space. A museum of The Times’ 136-year history would be housed on the first floor, along with event and retail space. Soon-Shiong’s wife, Michele, is leading the design of the space."
The proposed campus is under construction. Soon-Shiong owns several properties in El Segundo, the newspaper reported. The Chan Soon-Shiong Institute for Medicine, for example, is located near the junction of the 105 and 405 freeways.
The complex downtown is known as Times-Mirror Square. The oldest of the buildings at 1st and Spring opened in 1935. That was 25 years after an earlier L.A. Times building located across the street was bombed by union activists, killing 21 people.
That current headquarters, kitty-corner from L.A.'s City Hall, is noted for its art deco exterior and distinctive Globe Lobby.
There had been speculation among newsroom staff — still the largest in the West — for several years about a possible move to a westside location. A proposal by Tronc, the current owner of the Times, became a point of contention in the lead up to a successful campaign to unionize the newsroom.
In January, members of the L.A. Times Guild Organizing Committee argued downtown is "the most central location to many of the communities and institutions that are vital to our daily reporting, including city, county, state and several federal government offices."
At the time, newsroom union organizers said Tronc was also exploring moving the paper's staff to another downtown location: Aon Center, a skyscraper at the corner of Hope Street and Wilshire Boulevard. Union organizers expressed concerns about that plan, too, saying it called for journalists working in cramped quarters.
Many in the newsroom had been concerned about relocation anywhere outside of downtown. Why? Well:
In their January letter, union organizers — then concerned about a move to Santa Monica — said a move to the westside would lengthen the average commute time for "nearly 90 percent of the staff."
Soon-Shiong had scheduled the Friday town hall where he made the announcement prior to a report appearing in the New York Post late Thursday that suggested talks to close the Times sale had stalled. Soon-Shiong said the Post report was not true.
1:30 p.m.: This articles was updated with information about previous proposals to move The Times.
3:40 p.m.: Additional information about the planned El Segundo campus was added to this story.
This article originally published at 11:40 a.m.