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As Vikings wrecking ball looms, Star Tribune HQ gets Associated Press as tenant

Wire service signs “multi-year” lease in building currently being marketed for Vikings-area redevelopment.

Minnesota Vikings development plan
Minnesota Vikings

Here’s an objective sign that the Star Tribune’s 425 Portland headquarters won’t meet the wrecking ball anytime soon: The Associated Press Minneapolis bureau has signed a multi-year lease to move there in September.

Strib HQ  sits in the shadow of the new Vikings stadium; some staffers displayed gallows mirth at illustrations wiping their workplace off the street grid. The building, dedicated in 1949 amid a “Hollywood atmosphere,” used to house two newspapers and the printing presses, but is now as cavernous as David Byrne’s big suit

An AP spokesman says the wire service will realize a “nice savings” moving to the Strib building, where it was housed years ago. (Update & correction: Several  silver-haired journalists tell me AP was housed in a small, Strib-owned building across the street.)

The move also puts AP staffers closer to the downtown core: The bureau on the other side of the Dome, at 511 11th Ave. S., the former Control Data headquarters. (In some early Vikings iterations, that building would have also been torn down).

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AP’s move comes even though Strib has hired real-estate advisers to market headquarters-area blocks not already in the stadium plaza plan. Newspaper execs have stated repeatedly they are in “no hurry” to sell the land, which the Vikings offered $45 million for in 2007 before a previous Dome plan and the real-estate market imploded.

The new stadium is not expected to open until 2016, plenty of time for a multi-year lease to be fulfilled. 

Amusingly, the linkup comes four years after the Strib gave AP notice that it would cancel the wire service in a pricing dispute. The threat, necessitated by an onerous AP contract that required two-years’ notice, was never carried out, though the Strib later dropped to a lower service tier.

Other AP members in Minnesota may worry the Strib will get some sort of leg up on wire journalists’ reporting, given that both newsrooms are on the same floor. However, bureau chief Michelle Morgante says, “There won’t be any problem there. Our office is completely walled off from the [Star Tribune] newsroom, with our own door. … [T]he way our office is being constructed will allow each side to operate independently.”