By Bruce B. Brugmann (B3)
Well, well. There's more of an odor to the McClatchy sale of the Minneapolis Star Tribune to a New York private equity firm than was originally reported. (See previous blogs.)
The Star Tribune reported coyly on Dec. 31 that Avista Capital Partners was interested in buying the Star Tribune "for reasons beyond its considerable newspaper and internet presence, or so goes the buzz in the Twin Cities business world."
The Star Tribune, it turns out, also owns five square miles of semi-prime real estate west of the Metrodome, mostly in surface parking, and that the real estate "has caught the eye of New York developer and Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf." He wants to replace the Metrodome with another downtown Minneapolis stadium. Avista could "probably fetch a pretty good price on land currently valued at $20 million to $25 million by Hennepin County."
And so the sale raises yet more questions: Does this mean that a towering chunk of Manhattanization is coming to downtown Minneapolis and if so what will the paper's development policy be? The story said that the Vikings representative declined to comment about whether the Vikings had tried to contact Avista. The story did not say whether the paper had tried to contact Avista for comment. Will this be the policy in dealing with the new owner: not even bothering to call for comment? B3