The city of Philadelphia is loaning the owners of the Inquirer and Daily News $2.9 million to help the company move into the former Strawbridge & Clothier building at 8th and Market streets.
When the move from the papers’ Broad Street headquarters was announced a week ago, the public financing got no mention in a company press release, and only a passing reference in one of four accounts of the move in the two papers.
About $2 million of the loan will help prepare the work space. The rest will cover a deposit the landlord wants because the tenant is coming out of bankruptcy.
Alan Greenberger, the deputy mayor for economic development, said such an investment is not uncommon to keep a major employer in the city.
“We live in a very competitive environment, and there were other people and places vying for their attention making wonderful offers,” Greenberger said.
Greenberger declined to elaborate, but a source familiar with the negotiations said some of the other offers came from New Jersey.
Greenberger said the city’s investment should be repaid in full, though he acknowledged there’s always a chance that a firm getting assistance could get into trouble.
“If there was a default, the city would be one, probably, of many creditors out there,” Greenberger said.
Philadelphia Media Network Inc. spokesman Mark Block said the company isn’t prepared to comment yet on the public financing, but said company officials are happy to keep more than 600 jobs in the city and participate in the commercial renaissance of East Market Street.
The move of the papers will also benefit from some portion of a $10 million state grant for East Market Street commercial space.