The Boston Globe has hired a commercial real estate broker to explore a sale of the newspaper’s Morrissey Boulevard building and property.
The company has hired Colliers International “to represent us in exploring the feasibility of such a transaction and to help us identify possible buyers,’’ Globe chief executive Mike Sheehan said in a memo to employees Tuesday. He said hiring a broker was the first step in a process that will take years.
“Wherever our next home is, it will reflect our culture of excellence and the direction our business is headed over the next few decades,’’ Sheehan said.
Even if a sale of the 815,000-square-foot building and 16.5-acre site were to happen quickly, an actual move would likely be a long way off, Sheehan said. The Globe would likely lease back the space in the meantime, he said.
The Globe moved from Boston’s Newspaper Row on Washington Street to Morrissey Boulevard, just south of downtown, in 1958. The sprawling building houses 1,400 full- and part-time employees, about 500 of whom work on printing and packaging newspapers.
While technology makes relocating news and business operations easier than it would have been decades ago, moving the print operation remains a formidable challenge. The massive presses usually operate 24 hours a day and also print The New York Times, the Boston Herald, The Patriot Ledger, The Enterprise of Brockton, and, most days, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
It’s possible the printing operation would move to a separate location from the rest of the company.
“It’s not an insignificant move or cost to move printing,’’ Sheehan said. “Every option is on the table.”
There has been speculation about a sale of the Globe building since John Henry bought the company last October. Estimates for the value of property were in the $50 million to $70 million range at that time. The assessed value is $40.3 million, according to the city of Boston.
The Globe is located on a strip across from Boston College High School and the University of Massachusetts Boston, more suitable to driving than walking. But developers have, in the past, envisioned the site as a location for retail and residential buildings.
“Until Colliers finishes this process, we have no idea of the true value of the property, and any move would be based upon that knowledge,’’ Sheehan said in his memo. “That said, it is highly likely that we will find a suitable buyer and will eventually move from our current home. But don’t start packing boxes quite yet.’’