Written by Edward Smith
The Fresno City Council will decide the fate of the former Fresno Bee building Thursday.
Fresno’s city manager sponsored the action item that puts the 14.83 acre property that once housed both reporters as well as printing presses on the agenda.
The price tag for the property at 1625 G St. is $5.75 million. If the council approves the purchase and sale agreement, the hope is to relocate Fresno’s Department of Public Utilities into the 220,000 square foot building, according to a staff report. An environmental assessment would have to be completed before the move. Funding for the purchase is included in the proposed 2021 revised budget.
Should the deal go through, the City would be able to consolidate office space, warehousing, maintenance shops and equipment for the Water Division, Solid Waste Management Division, Utilities Planning and Engineering, as well as Administration services.
Increased demand over the years for City services has caused departments to outgrow existing facilities, the report states.
The current property owner is listed as 1626 Fresno MRP, LLC, which is connected to the McClatchy Company Retirement Plan. McClatchy is the parent company of the Fresno Bee.
McClatchy was recently purchased by hedge fund Chatham Asset Management. Employee pensions were a point of contention during bankruptcy and purchase negotiations.
The Fresno Bee left the building in early 2020 and moved into the Bitwise 41 building shortly before the pandemic. Since the pandemic and work from home orders, Fresno Bee staffers have worked from home.