For decades, The Florida Times-Union’s office building and production complex has been one of the most distinctive aspects of the Brooklyn riverfront – though its days may now be numbered.
The Florida Times-Union, the city’s longtime newspaper of record, established the campus at 1 Riverside Avenue in 1967 after relocating from a building near the former county courthouse. It was the paper’s first excursion out of downtown Jax – though downtown boundaries would later expand to include its Brooklyn property. The five-story, Midcentury Modern office building, flanked by a two-story production facility, was designed by local firm KBJ Architects. It was from this complex that the company published the Times-Union as well as the Jacksonville Journal until it went out of print in the late ‘80s.
Part of the complex was built over the top of McCoy’s Creek, which runs through the property – a decision that would later help seal its fate.
In the early 1980s, Morris Communications purchased the paper – and, by extension, its property – from its previous owner, the CSX-linked Florida Publishing Company. The purchase didn’t bring about many notable changes, but it too was a decision that would later endanger the paper’s Brooklyn complex.
By the mid-2010s, with paper sales declining nationwide, Morris Communications was ready to pull out of the newspaper business. The company listed both the paper and its property for sale as separate assets, with the intention of redeveloping the latter as a mixed-use project. The Times-Union was sold to GateHouse Media in 2017; it moved its operations to the Wells Fargo Center in 2019.
The Brooklyn complex has now sat vacant for just over two years, and unfortunately, it seems its lifespan may soon be coming to an end. Atlanta developer Jeff Fuqua is now under contract to purchase the property from Morris Communications. Fuqua, who was also behind the Brooklyn Station retail development across Riverside Avenue, hopes to reimagine the property as a mixed-use development that would incorporate the city-planned rehabilitation of McCoy’s Creek.
While the creek rehab is certainly a worthy cause, it will still be a somber occasion to see the Times-Union building removed from the Brooklyn skyline.