UPDATED, April 13, 6:00 p.m.: The Los Angeles Times will move to a campus under construction in El Segundo, its new owner said.
On Friday, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong said the Times “needed to create the most modern newsroom,” and signaled that the move won’t be temporary, as had previously been reported.
“We need to build a campus that is there for the next 100 years, not to lease a building,” Soon-Shiong said.
Its current lease at the Times Mirror Square building in Downtown is expiring.
Soon-Shiong, a billionaire medical entrepreneur who agreed to buy the Times in February, will move the 137-year-old newspaper to El Segundo, the small city south of the Los Angeles International Airport that’s best known as a hub of aerospace and defense industries. Soon-Shiong made the announcement at a town-hall style meeting with staff and the newspaper later announced it on its website.
Initially, the announcement about the move indicated it would be a temporary one. Times reporter Carolina Miranda tweeted during Friday’s town hall that leadership was also weighing a move to the paper’s printing plant at Olympic Boulevard and Alameda Street in the Arts District.
But that was soon followed by the new owner’s announcement that the move would be permanent.
Soon-Shiong purchased a warehouse in El Segundo in January for $43 million through an LLC tied to an executive at his Culver City-based biotech firm, Nantworks. Its unclear if the purchase is in any way connected to the Times’ move.
Speculation has been rife about where the newspaper would go since the Onni Group purchased its current home, the Times Mirror Square, in 2016. The Canadian firm immediately announced it wanted to redevelop the Art Deco building into a mixed-use project with office, retail and potentially residential space.
Soon-Shiong agreed to buy the Times earlier this year for $500 million from Tronc, the Chicago-based newspaper publisher. The South African-born doctor has lived in L.A. for 38 years and, according to Forbes, is worth $7.8 billion, and is the richest person in the city.
He first got involved with the Times when he invested in Tronc in 2016 and is set to bring the Times under local ownership for the first time in nearly two decades.