Washington Post puts its building on the block

Fri Feb 1, 2013 4:26pm EST

A view of the lobby of The Washington Post Company headquarters in Washington, March 30, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

A view of the lobby of The Washington Post Company headquarters in Washington, March 30, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

(Reuters) - The Washington Post is the latest media company contemplating selling its headquarters as it tries to rein in costs.

Katharine Weymouth, the publisher of the Washington Post and part of the Graham family that controls the paper, wrote to employees about the move, according to a memo from Weymouth obtained by Reuters.

"Our preliminary analysis suggests that a move will make good operational and economic sense, however we have not yet decided on where or when," Weymouth wrote.

The paper selected Studley, Inc and JM Zell Partners as its real estate advisers to help locate potential new sites and find buyers.

The building - in the heart of Washington D.C. - has been home to the newspaper since 1950, when the Graham family built a $6 million plant with new presses and equipment. The paper moved the presses out of the building more than 10 years ago.

By no means is the Washington Post the first publisher to mine its real estate holdings for potential money. It's a trend in newspaper industry that has been going on for several years as a way to cope with drastic declines in advertising revenue and staff reductions that have left swaths of empty space.

The Washington Post Co, which operates the newspaper, reported that print advertising revenue fell 14 percent to $160.7 million for the first nine months of 2012.

The owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, for example, sold its headquarter building recently.

(Reporting By Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by M.D. Golan)