Charlotte-based developer Lincoln Harris is under contract to buy the Charlotte Observer’s 9.4-acre uptown headquarters site, according to a representative of the pension fund that owns the property.
Jim Bishop, managing director of White Star Advisors, has been overseeing the sale for the McClatchy Co. pension fund, which owns the building. Bishop said the purchase agreement has been signed, but declined to immediately offer further details.
Lincoln Harris has a 60-day due diligence period before the sale closes, during which the company can evaluate the purchase and could still back out.
The Observer first reported in January that Lincoln Harris was planning to purchase the site. The final purchase price was not immediately available Thursday, but a person familiar with the negotiations earlier said bids for the property had reached as high as $35 million.
The site is one of the largest tracts on the south side of uptown, which is seeing a major redevelopment boom. Split by South Church Street, the site includes the Observer’s main building at Stonewall and Tryon streets and an adjacent warehouse, loading dock and parking deck at Church and Stonewall.
Lincoln Harris marketing manager Matt Russell could not immediately be reached for comment.
As owner of the site, the Observer parent company’s pension fund has been handling the sale. Observer executives have not been part of those negotiations.
The Observer is searching for more modern offices in or near uptown and has spoken with developers and landlords at multiple locations, including the NASCAR Plaza office tower at Stonewall and Caldwell streets. The company is still evaluating sites.
Last year, the Observer shut down its presses on the building’s first floor and transferred printing of the newspaper to a newer press in University City. News, advertising and administrative functions remain in the Observer building.
The Charlotte Observer building
▪ Year built: 1971
▪ Square footage: 360,000
▪ Parcel size: 9.4 acres
▪ Owner: The pension fund of the Observer’s parent company, the McClatchy Co.