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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Guardian Almost Officially Sold to Examiner, Guardian Building Sold to Developer

Posted By on Tue, Apr 24, 2012 at 4:33 PM

click to enlarge The way it used to be
  • The way it used to be

Update: The sale of the Guardian to the SF News Company LLC, which owns the Examiner, was made much closer to official this afternoon. Publishers Bruce Brugmann and Jean Dibble have retired, and Tim Redmond, the paper's executive editor, is now its publisher, too. 

In a message to its readers, the Guardian promised that -- however its "ongoing negotiations" with its potential new owners work out -- it will remain "San Francisco's progressive voice" and that Brugmann and Dibble will do some "consulting" with the paper.

Original Post: The proposed marriage between the Guardian and Examiner has not yet been officially recorded, let alone consummated -- officials from both papers today told us they've got no news on that front.

The move to sell off the Guardian prior to founding editor Bruce Brugmann and wife associate publisher Jean Dibble's retirement is not happening in a vacuum, however. And, soon enough, it may have to happen in a new building. The San Francisco Business Times today reported that the Guardian is in contract to sell its home for $6.5 million to major developer Union Property Capital. Brugmann purchased the building for $4.7 million in 2002.

UPC is certainly not the Darth Vader of gentrification and development reviled in the pages of the anti-Manhattanization, anti-market-rate housing, anti-live-work, anti-condo conversion Guardian. But it ain't Luke Skywalker either.

The Business Times' J.K. Dineen summed up the situation:

The Bay Guardian has been a vocal opponent of development in the city, railing against highrise construction, luxury housing, and zoning rules that favor tech and knowledge-based companies over more traditional blue-collar jobs. Ironically, it was UPC that assembled and did the early planning on one of the most prominent highrises built in downtown San Francisco in the last decade: Tishman Speyer's two-tower Infinity project at 300 Spear St. UPC also developed a data center at 365 Main St., built a luxury residential loft project at 150 Powell St., and repositioned SoMa buildings like 330 Townsend St. and 840 Brannan St. for dot-coms. The company also completed a condo conversion of a former rental building in Alamo Square -- the sort of project that the Guardian routinely opposes in the interest of protecting the city's rental housing stock.

Our calls to UPC were not returned. SF Weekly's attempts to get a hold of Brugmann at his home and favorite bar have thus far come up short. Reached for comment, Guardian executive editor Tim Redmond noted that, "for better or for worse," he is uninvolved in this transaction, and pledged to pass on a message to someone who is.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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