The Ventura County Star buildings in Camarillo sold last month to a New York City real estate investment company that specializes in buying and repurposing former media and newspaper properties.
Twenty Lake Holdings bought the properties for an undisclosed amount, according to the company’s real estate brokerage subsidiary, Praxis Commercial in Ardmore, Penn. The sale consisted of the newspaper’s roughly 53,000-square-foot office building at 550 Camarillo Center Drive and the 75,000-square-feet industrial building at 151 Factory Stores Drive that previously held the paper’s printing operation before that closed this spring.
National newspaper chain Gannett Co. Inc. of McLean, Va., bought the Star in 2016 and put the properties up for sale later that year. They were offered for sale for nearly $18 million in total, according to CoStar Group Inc.’s real estate database.
Nathanael Pennington, president of Praxis, said the company has bought and repurposed other media and newspaper properties, including The Press-Enterprise’s former building in Riverside once owned by Freedom Communications Inc., the previous owner of The Orange County Register. Freedom sold to Digital First Media in 2016. Twenty Lake also bought the former building of the New Haven Register in Connecticut, now occupied by a furniture store.
“A lot of them have surplus real estate that they can’t fully occupy anymore,” Pennington said.
He added that the new owner liked the Camarillo demographics and the Camarillo Premium Outlets mall that surrounds the almost 12-acre property, but also wanted a second asset in California.
Mark Winkler, the Star’s president, had said in previous news stories that if the buildings sold, the paper may relocate operations nearby. Pennington, however, said the newspaper continues to leaseback space in the office building. Twenty Lake will probably divide up excess space not needed or used, and may do the same to the former production building, he added.
Gannett bought the Star as part of its purchase of Journal Media Group, and the paper is now part of the USA Today Network. Earlier this year, the Star agreed to have the Los Angeles Times print its paper.