Oct 28, 2022 - Business

Chicago may lose its printing press

photo of a stack of newspapers coming off printing press.

Bundles of Chicago Tribune newspapers come off the press at the Freedom Center. Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Bally's is moving forward with its plans to build a casino by buying the Tribune's Freedom Center production plant along the Chicago River in West Town.

  • The sprawling 30-acre site will house the new casino, a hotel and an entertainment district by its expected opening in 2026.

Why it matters: The 41-year-old Freedom Center plant prints the Tribune and Sun-Times, as well as editions of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times for local delivery.

  • Nexstar Media has been expected to sell the plant to Bally's since the initial casino bid. Once Bally's takes over, the Freedom Center could be razed.
  • So we know what the potential sale means for a casino, but it could also have an impact on the future of Chicago's newspapers.

The intrigue: Alden Global Capital, owners of Tribune Publishing and the Chicago Tribune, quietly purchased a shuttered printing plant in West Milwaukee, but Alden isn't saying what the company plans to do with it.

Yes, but: According to the Tribune, the paper wants to sign an extension (currently in arbitration) for the Freedom Center.

  • Par Ridder, GM of the Tribune, told his paper, "No decision has been made to move printing operations to Milwaukee."

Between the lines: The Trib's lease at the Freedom Center ends next summer, so even though the plant could be torn down quickly, Alden could still sign a lease and get relocation funds when that happens.

The bottom line: If Alden does relocate printing to Milwaukee, it would become the first time that neither the Tribune nor Sun-Times is printed locally.


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