Bangor Daily News Building Sale Falls Through
by Al Diamon
Deal undone: Bangor Daily News publisher Richard Warren announced on Feb. 11 that the long-anticipated sale of the newspaper’s headquarters on Main Street in Bangor to a subsidiary of Ocean Properties had fallen through. A brief story by BDN editor Michael J. Dowd gives no explanation for the abrupt pull-out by the buyer, except to quote Warren as saying, “Ocean Properties couldn’t make the numbers work, to my great chagrin.”
Ocean Properties, a developer of hotels and resorts, had been in negotiations to buy the site, located next to the new Bangor civic center and across from the Hollywood Casino, since at least last summer. So, the collapse was a curious occurrence, particularly coming less than a week after the two sides announced they had a deal.
There’s speculation that a financing glitch may have occurred, and one source, noting that Warren and Ocean Properties’ Tom Walsh have a longstanding professional relationship, said the deal might not be entirely dead.
If the Bangor Daily can’t find a buyer for the building, there could be some serious financial consequences. For some time, the paper has been deferring payments to its pension fund, while promising federal regulators it would make up the shortfall in the near future. Industry sources said the plan was always to use part of the proceeds from the sale of the property to cover that debt. If there’s no other buyer waiting in the wings, the BDN could face some serious pressure from the feds – not to mention the threat of legal actions – if it can’t come up with the cash.
Disclosure: The Bollard has a business relationship with the Bangor Daily News.
Define expand: The Bangor Daily News devoted space on its front page on Feb. 11 to an announcement (that doesn’t seem to be available online) headlined, “BDN expands A-section.” It promised the front part of the paper would contain “more stories, more photographs and an improved reading experience by ensuring stories finish in the same section in which they begin.”
After three days of this alleged change, the A-section remains the same size, with roughly the same number of stories. The only difference is that the practice of jumping stories from page one to other sections has been discontinued.
This is called hype. It doesn’t belong on the front page of a respectable newspaper. Or anywhere else.
Blue-ribbon boneheadedness: Really? Somehow, the editors of the Portland Press Herald decided the best use of their limited resources would be to send columnist Bill Nemitz to New York City to cover the Westminster Dog Show.
Nemitz sent back the (pooper) scoop that one of the Maine dogs he was expecting to see compete was injured and wouldn’t be taking part. And he gave us exclusive coverage of another Maine pooch’s bowel movement.
Donovan duplicates: I’ve mentioned this before, but the problem keeps cropping up. The Erin Donovan column in the Feb. 13 Bangor Daily News is a clone of the one that was posted on the BDN’s website last Dec. 23.
The joke was weak the first time and worse the second. The least the paper can do is label it as a reprint. The most would be to give the paying customers fresh material when a columnist takes a week off.
Al Diamon can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.