The San Diego Union-Tribune building in downtown San Diego on July 10, 2023.
The San Diego Union-Tribune building in downtown San Diego on July 10, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

San Diego’s paper of record has had its name on buildings for decades.

The San Diego Union-Tribune’s names and office spaces have changed since 1868, but it always had a presence as a named tenant. Until now.

Multiple sources confirmed to Voice of San Diego that the paper’s new owners are interested in getting the newsroom out of its downtown building.

MediaNews Group representatives told employees they could not work at the office on B Street and would work remote only. Employees also had until the end of July to collect all their personal belongings, sources confirmed.

The Union-Tribune reported in 2016 that the company signed a $40 million, 15-year lease with Lincoln Property for the use of four floors. (Lincoln Property also manages Voice’s headquarters.) The paper is also the building’s named tenant.

Do the math: The U-T has eight years left on its lease.

Before the sale, company leaders cut down to two floors. As a result, the U-T’s name would likely come off the building, sources confirmed.

MediaNews Group did not respond to a request for comment.

It’s really sad. I still remember looking up at the Union-Tribune building years ago, wishing I could work there one day. Then I did. It was wonderful and the people who filled those offices were some of the most talented people I’ve ever met. I took countless pictures of the building sign for my Instagram stories. I felt proud to work there.

When we left our office because of Covid, I was heartbroken, and I tried to work from there as often as I could. Something about being in that building felt like magic. Newsrooms tend to give me that feeling — nerdy, I know.

San Diego’s Water Wars

Illustration by Adriana Heldiz

Who knew water politics could be so spicy?

Our environment reporter MacKenzie Elmer has been following a conflict between the water agencies that provide water services to our communities. There’s lots of chisme, so grab a cafecito and let’s jump in.

What you need to know: There are 24 communities that buy water from the San Diego County Water Authority. Two want to leave: Rainbow Municipal Water District and Fallbrook Public Utilities District.

So, what does that mean for you? Elmer explained how it could impact your pocketbook since the rest of the communities would have to pick up their part of the tab. You can read her story here. And Scott Lewis explained what it could mean for the future of the Water Authority’s growth. Read that here.

One thing you need to know is that this is a messy break up.

A boundary commission decided that Fallbrook and Rainbow can separate from the Water Authority. These boundary referees are known as the Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCO.

State lawmakers, Los Angeles power brokers and San Diego’s mayor have stepped in to try to stop the two communities from leaving. And there are more efforts brewing to stop the separation.

Some are seeing an opportunity: Not all communities are equal — at least not when it come to water politics. The largest communities get the most voting power on the Water Authority’s board. This leaves small communities with little say.

And now, they want to change that. Elmer reports that small cities want more voting power and they are open to make a deal with an assemblymember to get it.

Read more about the latest water move here.

More Chisme to Start Your Week

  • Tuesday is the last day to vote in the county’s special election. We rounded up what you need to know about the race and what’s at stake. And Lisa Halverstadt spoke to the candidates about their plans to address the region’s homelessness and housing crises.
  • Halverstadt also revealed that the city of San Diego’s housing agency has ordered Father Joe’s Villages, the city’s largest shelter provider, to overhaul how it bans unhoused individuals from shelter. Its suspension list now disproportionately bars Black San Diegans. Read her investigation here.
  • If you are a podcast person, I strongly recommend listening to the VOSD Podcast. We published two episodes this week. One was a happy hour chat with local journalists about guns, a guy who defrauded the U.S. Navy and how a reality start on “Selling Sunset” is renovating a building with a dark history. Listen to that discussion here. For our regular show, I got back to my community reporting roots and Elmer explained how to keep your compost from getting all gross. Listen to that one here.
  • Education reporter Jakob McWhinney revealed that one school district is driving up suspension rates of Indigenous students. Read his story here.

Do you have feedback for Cup of Chisme? Email me at

Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, Managing Editor, Daily News Andrea oversees the production of daily news stories for Voice of San Diego. She welcomes conversations...

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