AddThis SmartLayers

Publisher mulls sale of ‘not up-to-scratch’ newspaper office

A regional daily’s office is being put up for sale after its owner deemed the building to be “not up-to-scratch.”

Johnston Press says it is considering the sale of the York Street home of Sheffield daily The Star, although it could opt to refurbish it instead.

York Street, pictured below, is one of JP’s largest offices and houses around 400 staff at present.

In a memo to staff, which has been seen by HTFP, company chief executive Ashley Highfield confirmed the building is being put on the market to “test the water” for a potential sale.


He said: “We are keen to ensure that all of our teams work in surroundings that are comfortable and fit-for-purpose and know that York Street – one of our largest properties (housing some 400 of our team members) – is not up-to-scratch.

“So, we are looking at two options aimed at ensuring you work in an appropriate, modern office environment. We are currently doing a detailed evaluation of the investment required to completely refurbish York Street. The second option is to relocate to new office accommodation within Sheffield.

“In order to ascertain the feasibility of moving to new premises, we need to establish how easy it would be to sell the York Street property. To test the water we will be putting the building on the market and you are likely to see some marketing activity in the coming weeks.

“I want to stress that no firm decisions have been made yet, we are simply putting out the feelers at this stage.”

Ashley added that he expected the evaluation process to take between two to three months and a decision would be made once “armed with all the facts.”

He said that during this period, some temporary fixes would be implemented to address cooling/heating issues in the building.

Johnston Press launched a major programme of office sales in 2013 with the aim of raising around £8m.

Since then it has concluded a number of major sell-offs including the site of the former Peterborough Telegraph print works – now a housing estate – the former Northampton Chronicle and Echo building in Upper Mounts – now an Aldi superstore – and the former Yorkshire Post building in Leeds, which is being redeveloped as offices, shops and housing.


You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.
  • September 14, 2016 at 7:44 am

    Let’s do a quick translation on this hogwash.

    JP is a zombie company that is drowning in debt. The share price drops in the last year has rendered the company almost worthless. Ashley is desperate to sell buildings, newspapers and anything else to pay off debts. Where his staff work is irrelevant to him.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(34)
  • September 14, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Not up to scratch? What were JP thinking about when they spent all that money on the building just a few years ago, then?
    As Mr Blackwood suggests, this looks like no more than code to tell staff they’ll be out on an industrial estate in the middle of nowhere soon. Still, cheer up folks, at least car parking should be easier.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(22)
  • September 14, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    Up to scratch should not have been hyphenated, HTFP. Particularly when it is used three times.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(5)
  • September 15, 2016 at 11:36 am

    As Harry has said the answer will be to stick the staff anywhere. A lot these days find Cafe Nero and Starbucks great venues for loitering reporters to be in their patch. And the rest of the time in some industrial unit 40 miles away or, better still, “hotdesking” in a business centre/library/dosshouse.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(7)
  • September 15, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    HELP! Will somebody please buy the Northern Ireland newspapers from stupid, greedy JP. The ‘community’ Newsroom of the Future has as much revelance to the province as penguins have to the Amazon rain forest. Fold up your tents Ashley and clear off. You haven’t a notion, and neither have the ‘experts’ you sent across the Irish Sea to finally destroy what the Morton family created. They seem as clueless as you – if that’s possible. It’s incredible.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(14)