ASU Heads to La La Land

When people still preferred to get their news by cracking open a fresh newspaper , one name stood out above the rest: William Randolph Hearst. The media mogul revolutionized the industry as he created multiple publications including the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, located in the downtown portion of the city. Long-defunct, the newspaper shuttered in 1989 and the building it operated out of has been vacant for a while.

Now, the building will be put to use once more as Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism is set to annex the space for students of its programs. The school has agreed to lease the space that once saw a hustling bustle of reporters and rejuvenate it with journalists of tomorrow.

The expansion program will feature multiple disciplines within the journalism and communication umbrella at Cronkite as it aims to compete with other universities in the area including UCLA, USC and the California Institute of Technology.

“We already take seriously our responsibility to the enhancement of the community, but this growing engagement will allow us to provide students and faculty creative new learning experiences, work with new strategic partners, and participate in the critical issues facing the nation’s second largest city,” says Arizona State President Michael Crow.

At the revamped building, the Cronkite School will be writing checks to some well-known landlords: newly minted Angeleno LeBron James and former California Governor Arnold  Schwarzenegger. The pair of celebrities are among a number of investors taking over the building on Broadway and 11th street in Downtown Los Angeles.

ASU has been advertising in Southern California more aggressively in recent years, enticing transfers and freshmen to head east one state for on-campus studies. But it’s also been setting up satellite offices in places like Los Angeles and surrounding cities. ASU filmmaking program, Film Spark, runs operations out of Santa Monica.

This move goes with the growing theme of expansion for the university as a whole. ASU already has footprints in places such as China, Vietnam, Mexico City and Dubai, so moving over to a city like Los Angeles, with a global reach, only made sense.

“We look forward to our presence there to play an important role in adding to the downtown’s intellectual, cultural and economic vibrancy,” adds Crow.

New York real estate developer Georgetown Co. led the purchase of the building in 2015 from Hearst. Before an affiliate of ASU became part-owner the building was jointly owned by Hearst, Georgetown Co. and Main Street.

ASU will occupy the bulk of the more than 100,000-square-foot building when it reopens in 2020.

“We see ASU’s involvement as a powerful statement on the growing vibrancy of downtown and we’re pleased to have them join us on the project,” added Michael Fischer, Vice President of Georgetown. “We expect their investment and presence will further drive development and add a valuable intellectual and creative weight to the collection of shops, restaurants, residential buildings and hotels, and cultural enterprises already present.”

Nick Esquer

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