The new owners of The San Diego Union-Tribune are trying to sell at least two of the properties they bought from Copley Press, including the home of one of its North County newsrooms.

The asking prices for both properties are significantly higher than their final sale prices when the U-T purchase deal was finalized last month.

One property, including a vacant office building at 7701 Herschel Ave. in La Jolla, is on the market for $6.5 million.

Copley Press, former owner of the U-T, sold the property for $4.75 million in May to new owners Platinum Equity as part of the U-T sale. The 10,236-square-foot building was built in 1982.

The other property, at 5130 Avenida Encinas in Carlsbad, entered the market earlier this month at an asking price of $2.6 million. The property, including a 7,800-square-foot building built in 1985, sold to Platinum Equity for $1.7 million in May.

The U-T’s north coastal newsroom is based at the Carlsbad building. Elsewhere in North County, the paper has offices in San Marcos and Escondido.

It’s not clear why the sale prices are so much higher than the earlier purchase prices. The local commercial real-estate market is weak, and prices have not skyrocketed in recent months.

The prices that the properties initially sold for “may be irrelevant,” said Leonard Baron, a real-estate consultant and professor at San Diego State University. That’s because the properties were purchased as part of a package deal along with the newspaper itself, he said, meaning their sales prices might not be directly tied to their actual value on the market.

Six Copley Press-owned parcels sold for a total of $51.2 million to Platinum Equity, according to deeds recorded May 4. The parcels included the property that houses the U-T’s Mission Valley headquarters, which sold for $35.5 million.

In a March story, a real-estate analyst estimated that the U-T headquarters property alone was worth $100 million.

Analysts believe the Copley Press real-estate holdings were a major driver behind the sale of the U-T to Platinum Equity.


Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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