On Wednesday, it was revealed that Postmedia would be laying off 11% of its editorial staff that work for its newspapers across the country. That may have been a shock to many, but likely not to those in Alberta, where the Calgary Herald building on 215 16 Street SE was sold last week.
On the day of the sale, January 18, Postmedia also said that it was transitioning 12 of its publications in Alberta to digital-only beginning February 27. Postmedia did not announce which of its local newspapers would be making the switch, but it owns 32 publications across the province, including the Airdrie Echo, Whitecourt Star, Edmonton Journal, Edmonton Examiner, Calgary Sun, and Calgary Herald.
The Calgary Herald has been in circulation since 1883 and was acquired by Postmedia in 2010, a period in which it had a circulation of over 125,000. It's had several homes in its history, but has operated out of the building on 215 16 Street SE since 1981, according to a retrospective published last week by -- you guessed it -- the Calgary Herald.
The site is northeast of the Calgary Zoo, along Deerfoot Trail, adjacent to the Hungerford Properties' Mayland Heights Industrial Park, and was estimated to have cost $70M to build. Last week, U-Haul Canada acquired the building for $17.25M.
According to a 2018 listing brochure, the building is 391,590 sq. ft, with both office and industrial space, allowing for a versatile array of uses. Office space is estimated to account for 35% of the building's space, while industrial space accounts for 45% (and common space accounts for the remaining 20%).
The space is split across three storeys above ground, as well as two levels below ground, with multiple floors having both office and industrial space.
Images of the Calgary Herald building shown in a 2018 listing brochure. (Avison Young)
(Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock)
U-Haul will reportedly use the facility as a self-storage and truck rental site.
The building -- which stood in for the Denver Times in the 2007 movie Resurrecting the Champ and was a location for the Season 3 finale of Fargo -- sits on a sprawling 13.79-acre site, which includes a 4.39-acre surface parking lot, with 364 vehicle stalls, as well as 12 additional stalls underground.
Calgary Herald staff began working remotely since the COVID-19 pandemic, and never returned to the office.
It's unclear how much of the Herald's staff will be affected by the impending layoffs, but the layoffs come in a time where companies big and small are laying off staff in droves.
In the journalism world, Vox Media and the Washington Post in the US both announced significant layoffs within the last week. Tech companies that were once thought to be too big to fail, such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have also all announced layoffs this month, and layoffs at smaller tech companies have also hit Alberta.
Almost all of the companies have cited current economic conditions, as interest rates across North America continued to be raised in an effort to fight inflation. They have also cited decreasing profits as a result of reduced advertising revenue, with newspapers like the Calgary Herald also having to face reduced print readership.