Pa. pension fund buys former Patriot-News facility in Harrisburg

The former news and business offices of The Patriot-News Co. at 812 Market St. in Harrisburg have been sold again, this time to the Public School Employees' Retirement System. - (Photo / File)

A New York City-based real estate firm has made a quick profit on its 2017 purchase of the former news and business offices of The Patriot-News Co. in Harrisburg.

The Public School Employees’ Retirement System, or PSERS, which has its headquarters nearby at the corner of Market and North Fifth streets, said today it has purchased the vacant eight-parcel property for $1.6 million. The deal closed Dec. 19.

New York-based Twenty Lake Holdings paid $644,286 last summer to acquire 812 Market St., along with connected parcels at 810 and 900 Market streets, 12, 21 and 23 N. 9th streets and 24 and 26 N. 10th streets. Twenty Lake, which specializes in old media properties and surplus corporate real estate, bought the the Harrisburg properties as part of a bundle of 90 distressed former newspaper properties across the country.

The Patriot-News moved its editorial and business offices out of the building in 2010, according to newspaper archives. Staff was consolidated into the company’s production facility in Hampden Township, which opened in 2000.

PSERS, one of two public-sector pension systems in Pennsylvania, said it has no definitive plans for the site. But Glen Grell, the system’s executive director, said PSERS has struggled with space needs at its current headquarters building.

The system has nearly 300 employees in Harrisburg.

“This property is in a prime location for PSERS and we expect it will help with the system’s short- and long-term space needs,” he said.

He said PSERS is pleased to play a role in the redevelopment of the Market Street corridor, which intersects with Cameron Street.

“This property has strong investment potential that will benefit PSERS in the years to come,” Grell said. “Additionally, we believe PSERS’ purchase of this property may serve as a catalyst for other businesses to invest in and support the long-term redevelopment of our capital city.”

The state has been focused on attracting transit-oriented development around the Harrisburg Transportation Center, which sits between the Patriot-News property and PSERS’ existing headquarters.

Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse said the purchase represents a vital anchor project to help advance redevelopment in that part of downtown Harrisburg.

L&B Realty Advisers LLP, a Dallas-based real estate investment adviser, brokered the deal on behalf of PSERS.

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