The Burlington Free Press announced Friday that it will undergo a major downsizing operation — it plans to sell seven of its 12 downtown Burlington buildings.
The newspaper is scaling back its downtown office space from 55,700 square feet to 10,000 square feet. It will consolidate its editorial and business activity into this space, which will be leased from the new owner. The mailroom and printing press will continue to operate in the Free Press’ remaining real estate holdings — five buildings on South Winooski Avenue.
The decision is the latest in a recent string of adaptations to the Free Press — an increased home delivery fee, the introduction of a paywall to digital coverage, and swapping a broadsheet for a tabloid format on its print edition. The changes come as part of a greater trend initiated by Gannett, owner of the Free Press, and over 100 other news entities to address declining numbers in print circulation. The New York Times reported that over the past decade, the Free Press’ circulation has declined from 48,871 to 30,558.
The Free Press has hired V/T Commercial, a Burlington-based commercial real estate company to carry out the sale, and the company has established Jan. 2 as the deadline for incoming request for proposals for the properties. The properties’ net worth is valued at $3.3 million.