EDITORIAL: What happens next?

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Kudos go to the Rhino Times, which last week scooped the News & Record on the details of the sale of its own building.

Of course, it’s a lot harder to get a scoop when representatives from the parent company, in this case BH Media, refuse to offer details and the competition benefits from having a publisher in possession of inside information about the sale.

Rich people get the best gossip.

The Rhino revealed the buyer of the 6.5-acre lot — situated in the center of downtown Greensboro near some high-dollar projects in the pipeline, it may have been the best urban parcel on the market in the whole country — to be Greg Dillon, a developer from Maryland who is a partner in the parking-deck project across the street from the N&R property, while the daily newspaper itself got a boilerplate statement from its publisher, Daniel Finnegan, bereft of critical detail.

So… what happens now?

The property itself is quite important. The N&R building was designed for a suburban office park rather than the center of a downtown district, and since it went up in 1976 has greatly disrupted the flow of the neighborhood. This building is the reason there is no retail facing Davie Street, why Lyndon Street is cut off from the rest of downtown, the source of the disconnect between the east and west sides of the footprint.

Smart development would carve blocks into the lot and restore what was stolen by bad design.

Less clear is the fate of Greensboro’s daily newspaper.

Outgoing newsroom veteran Margaret Moffett Banks timed her resignation — she’ll be the new managing editor of the Triad Business Journal — to coincide with the announcement of the sale, removing yet another large chunk of institutional memory from the paper and, not insignificant, another body from the newsroom.

At this scale, the N&R could operate out of an office not much larger than Triad City Beat’s — a downtown storefront or, more likely, a strip mall somewhere the rents are more amenable to the parent company.

The last few dimes have been squeezed from the N&R — the downtown lot, the press, the roster of high-dollar talent — and it’s a safe bet that the proceeds won’t be plunged into newsgathering operations.

Now that they’ve plundered one of Greensboro’s longest-running institutions, stripping from it nearly everything of value, perhaps they’ll try to sell it back to us.

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