By: George Garneau
THE DAILY NEWS Building in New York City is looking for a new name, and big tenant, now that the Daily News has abandoned the landmark art deco building on East 42nd Street for presumably less expensive quarters across town.
The newspaper expected to complete the move, from 220 E. 42nd St. to 450 W. 33rd St. in mid-May.
The move includes 500 people, thousands of cardboard boxes and some four million photographs. The News is going from 130,000 square feet on 21/2 floors to 112,000 square feet on one floor in a newer building.
The tabloid found a new home after failing to reach terms with LaSalle Partners, which manages the Daily News Building, to extend a 21/2-year lease that expires July 31.
The issue for both sides was money, said Barbara Winter, senior vice president of LaSalle. She said the News “was very much driven by financial considerations. Two-twenty East Forty-Second is a prime midtown building and our price was very competitive but it wasn’t low enough for the Daily News.”
The 37-story News building ? featuring a 17-foot, gold-colored globe in the lobby and a towering bas-relief tribute to the common people who read the paper carved into the fa?ade ? was built in 1930. Its architects, John Mead Howels and Raymond Hood, designed the Tribune Tower in Chicago for Tribune Co. The company owned the News until 1991, when a violent strike that nearly killed the paper forced Tribune to unload the financially troubled tab on British publisher Robert Maxwell rather than close it.
Acquired in 1993 from bankruptcy by Mortimer Zuckerman, who also owns real estate and U.S. News & World Report, and Fred Drasner, the News is building a $150-million printing plant in Jersey City, N.J. Plans call for nine new Goss Newsliner presses to start up in December, heralding a new era of color printing for the 75-year-old tabloid. The News stopped printing in the Daily News Building in the 1980s and currently prints in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Kearny, N.J.
The new headquarters are wired for technology. Workers sit on a raised floor 18 inches above miles of cables. The building is equipped with a backup power supply in case of emergency.
The News is displaying famous front pages in the new building’s lobby and is planning a minimuseum of its historical artifacts.
In 1982, the News sold its namesake building to a partnership in which Tribune Co. holds a minority stake, and a group of pension funds own the majority. Since then, the newspaper has leased its space, now about 10% of the building.
Winter said the owners of the Daily News Building are asking $28 per square foot, or more than $3.6 million a year, for the space now occupied by the newspaper, and the building could be renamed in honor of a new tenant.
She said the parting of the companies was not acrimonious and wished the News well in its new home.
The Daily News Building’s more than 50 tenants include Tribune Co.’s New York properties, WPIX-TV and WQCD-FM, which are expanding their offices, and Crain Communications’ New York operations, Ad Age and Crain’s New York Business magazines.
After the New York Times covered the move in a big feature story May 4, the News issued a press release trumpeting the change as “yet another demonstration of their [co-publishers Zuckerman and Drasner] commitment to providing consumers with the best possible quality of product.”