Saratoga Springs

The venerable downtown offices of The Saratogian newspaper closed forever Thursday, clearing the way for a Malta-based investor to redevelop a choice piece of real estate just a stone’s throw from the bustling Broadway shopping scene.

After more than 80 years of calling the red brick building at 20 Lake Ave. its home, the daily paper is moving out of downtown Friday and into smaller offices in a professional building on Wells Street.

The paper’s eventual departure had been assured since 2012, when its owners, New York City-based Digital First Media (DFM), sold the one-acre property to Frank Parillo, a developer from Malta who is part of the group that has developed the high-end 38 High Rock condominium project downtown.

As part of the $2.65 million sale by DFM, Parillo guaranteed the paper could stay as a tenant in the building for at least three years — which would have been a June 2015 deadline.

Parillo, who owns the property under affiliate Saratoga Prime Properties, has not announced his plans for the property, which occupies a city block bounded by Lake Avenue, Maple Avenue, Caroline Street and Pavilion Place. 

A call to Parillo’s office for comment was not returned. The property is currently assessed by the city at a full market value of $2.1 million, more than a half-million dollars less than the purchase price.

The departure of The Saratogian from downtown comes as DFM, which also owns the Troy Record, has slashed staff at both newspapers and sold their headquarters.

Since 2012, the hedge fund group Alden Global Capital has been the primary owner of DFM. During that time, staff at DFM newspapers has been cut by more than 50 percent, more than double the industry average, according to a study by The News Guild, a national union representing newspaper workers.

A real estate firm set up by former DFM executives has been brokering those sales. That firm is called Twenty Lake Holdings LLC — which also happens to be the address of the now-former Saratogian building.

In April 2013, DFM sold the Record building on Broadway for $2.65 million, according to Rensselaer County real estate records..

According to the News Guild report, since 2013 Twenty Lake has sold more than 125 DFM newspaper-related properties in 23 states, worth a total of $230.2 million.