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Digitial First Puts Vermont News Buildings on the Market

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Digital First Media, owner of New England Newspapers, is shedding itself of more real estate.

On the market along with The Berkshire Eagle Clocktower building are the locations of its three Vermont papers: Bennington Banner, the Brattleboro Reformer ($850,000) and the weekly Manchester Journal ($275,00).

The company announced on Tuesday it was putting 51 properties more properties on the market, for a total of 70 with a value of about $85 million, according to reports in the Denver Post, DFM's flagship paper.

In a press release from Twenty Lakes Holdings, the company's real estate management firm, posted on Poynter, Steve Rossi, president and chief operating officer of Digital First Media, said the strategy was to free "the company from the constraints of being overburdened with underutilized properties."

Real estate broker Praxis Commercial has the listings and prices on its website but not for the Banner, which shows up on a list from Twenty Lakes acquired by Poynter.

Digital First has been asking $2.5 million for the Clocktower Building on South Church Street. Its also selling the Sentinel & Enterprise building in Fitchburg and a printing plant in Devens and the Troy (N.Y.) Record building.

The company shuttered the 15-year-old North Adams Transcript and the Advocate Weekly earlier this year and laid off a number of people.

It's been widely rumored that DFM is being forced to cut a $100 million from its operating budget and that it may be preparing newspapers, not just buildings, for sale. The company closed its much-ballyhooed Thunderdome in April. DFM, which took over management from bankrupt MediaNews Group, has some 10,000 employees and nearly 300 newspapers.

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