In 1922, the famed Chicago newspaper held an architecture design contest for their new offices downtown. The winning neo-Gothic tower resembling a medieval cathedral soon broke ground, and the Chicago Tribune has called it home ever since. Tribune Media and Tribune Publishing, now called Tronc, will all move out of the building to new Chicago office space over the next two years. The newspaper’s lease does not end until 2018.
Other building occupants include CNN, WGN Radio, restaurant Howells & Hood, and several other dining and retail establishments. No word has been given yet on the residency fate of these businesses.
This deal has been looming for nearly a year as the tower hit the market for potential buyers in October 2015. But it still marks a significant point in the timeline of modern newspapers, and it definitely speaks to their future in society. Chicago’s other main paper, the Chicago Sun-Times, sold their own riverfront building, which was less than a block away from the Tribune Tower, to Donald Trump. It was demolished in 2004 and replaced with a new skyscraper, Trump Tower.
The old building had anchored a place in Chicago architecture and world-famous journalism for nearly 50 years, as it also housed the Chicago Daily News until it went under in 1978.
The Sun-Times moved down the road but has seen record-breaking layoffs and changes made to its staff in the years following in order to stay afloat. The newspaper business has been dying out since the dawn of the tech age, and this sale by the Tribune may be yet another nail added to the coffin.
Demolition of the tower may not be in the cards as it has been a registered Chicago Landmark since 1989, but the displacement of the Chicago Tribune is enough to cause skepticism around the city about its future.