Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Chicago Sun-Times Selects Print Site

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Chicago Sun-Times Selects Print Site

Article excerpt

SITE PREPARATION WORK for a $60 million Chicago Sun-Times printing plant to house its first offset presses could begin as early as this spring following a key city government approval.

Chicago's Community Development Commission has approved a deal to sell the Sun-Times a 29-acre site on the city's Southwest Side that is now occupied by an abandoned Sears, Roebuck & Co. distribution plant.

Under terms of the proposed deal, the Sun-Times will pay $4.4 million for the land. The city will use about $1 million of that price to pay for demolition of the Sears plant plus other site preparation and infrastructure work.

The site is part of a larger redevelopment project, and the newspaper is seeking an enterprise zone tax abatement that would reduce its assessments from 36% of market value to 16%. The abatement, which must be approved by the city and Cook County, would last for eight years. A Sun-Times story by Jim Kirk said the abatement would save the paper about $17 million in property taxes.

The deal also requires approval from the Chicago City Council, which is considered virtually certain.

"We're just about there. It will take one more `I do' from the city," said Sun-Times production vice president Frank Marcangelo, who heads the task force planning the offset conversion.

Marcangelo said the tabloid has narrowed its printing press choice down to two vendors, with a decision expected soon.

"Right now, it's down to who is going to give the Sun-Times the best deal. It's like buying a car," he said.

The 488,405-circulation Sun-Times is the second-biggest newspaper still using letterpress printing - and the biggest printing color every day. Its three-line, 66-unit Goss Mark I Headliner presses have served paper since the mid-1950s.

Right now, printing is done in the basement of the newspaper's downtown headquarters, inserting is largely accomplished at a plant several miles away, and most delivery trucks are garaged at a third facility. …

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