Tuesday, 17 November 2009

333 sale changes

The sale price and identity of the new owners of the Toronto Sun building have not been released, but employees learned yesterday how "massive changes" will affect their working lives.

Rob Granatstein, editorial page editor, sent a mass e-mail to editorial employees updating last week's announcement by publisher Mike Power that 333 King Street East has been sold.

In a nutshell, the newsroom will be moved to tighter quarters on the second floor, where it will share space with executive, accounting and advertising; Red's cafeteria, named for Doug Creighton, will be closed; free parking for employees will be drastically reduced.

Rob's e-mail reads:


It’s come to my attention that many people aren’t aware of the announcement made last week by Sun Publisher Mike Power that our building has been sold.

Here’s the grossly abbreviated summary.

* The Sun has sold the building.

* The buyer’s name has not been released yet as there are still conditions attached to the sale of the deal.

* The Toronto Sun is not moving. We’ve signed a 10-year lease to stay in the building.

* There will be massive changes now that we’re becoming a tenant.

* First, all Sun operations – executive, accounting, advertising - will join us on the second floor.

* The newsroom will be moving. The exact location isn’t clear, but we expect to move to the north side of the building.

* The newsroom will be the first to move. A new digital newsroom, likely costing well into the millions of dollars, will be built for us, including new furniture. Say goodbye to the ’80s-era desk you have now.

* The physical space of the newsroom will be far smaller than the footprint we have in the building now.

* The newsroom’s move will be done by the end of March, according to the schedule we have now.

* As a tenant we won’t have the same access to parking. We will have some spots, but not all the spots.

* The cafeteria will be closed.

* The presses will be removed.

* The library is staying where it is.

* Retail shops will likely move into the main floor on King St.

* Commercial offices will move into the building, too.

* Expect the building to become a huge construction site as the new owners change 333 King from a one tenant newspaper building into a building for many other uses.

* A sale price for the building has not been released.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me, James Wallace, or ask Mike Power directly. He stated he can’t answer all the questions will (sic) the sale of the building is not yet final, but will answer what he can.


We never thought the day would come when the Toronto Sun would be a tenant at 333, downsized from six full floors to one floor, with no presses, no cafeteria and minimal parking.

Employees who lose their cherished free parking spots inside and around 333 will be looking at costly daily parking fees if they decide to continue driving to work. What is the going daily rate for downtown T.O. parking these days?

Outside meals will also add to the cost of working for the Sun.

Will the added costs be a union issue when the next contract rolls around?

As a tenant, the Toronto Sun has a 10-year lease, which is mighty optimistic considering 10 years of Quebecor ownership has reduced the once thriving tabloid to a storefront operation.

Most disheartening is the sale of 333 is not out of necessity due to tough economic times. This is minimalist, cash cow greed on the backs of employees.

PKP might be a hero to shareholders, but he has never looked so small in the eyes of his employees.

Toronto Sun employees will no doubt carry on doing the best they can with what they have left because they are pros.


  1. I'm sure staff at places like the Fort McMurray Today and the Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune will be glad to know that the profits from their papers are being used to purchase a multi-million dollar newsroom in Toronto. The Bowes papers do nothing but make money, hand-over-fist, but not much of that money stays on location. It all heads east to fund the empire. Any chance you could send those 1980s desks to Grande Prairie or Fort Mac?

  2. The sale-and-leaseback of office buildings isn't necessarily a bad thing - companies such as Shoppers Drug Mart are in the midst of selling all of their real estate too and they're doing just fine. They've rid themselves of a lot of costs of ownership - maintenance, taxes, etc and freed up some cash to do some other things. It's nice to be sprawling, but a digital improvement sounds like a good thing. The cafeteria and parking sucks, but as the last poster said, check with the smaller papers to see how badly they fell about that.

  3. They should feel lucky they're still downtown. For 15 years, newspapers have been selling their overvalued downtown offices and reclocating to anonymous suburban industrial parks where rents are cheap for a one-time cash infusion.

  4. Is everyone aware that the Grinch has also cancelled Christmas for the company?

  5. Anonymous number 1, you're lucky you need desks. We have lots of desks, no employees to sit at them

  6. "Outside meals will also add to the cost of working for the Sun."

    Red's isn't cheap (or all that good). There are lots of places to get cheap food within minutes of the Sun building. This isn't really a concern.

    As for daily parking - there are lots nearby that are $7 between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.