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Herald in talks to move to S. Boston

By Johnny Diaz
Globe Staff / July 16, 2011

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The Boston Herald is negotiating a deal to move its headquarters to an office building in South Boston’s Seaport District, according to people familiar with the matter, but who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak for the paper.

Brokers from Richards Barry Joyce & Partners have been working with the Herald, which is close to finalizing a deal on a property at 451 D St., according to the sources.

The property, an office building with 460,000 square feet of space, is better known as Seaport Center, and is owned by the Beal Cos. and Rockpoint Group, according to Beal’s website. In 2008, the state and city approved $4 million in tax breaks for JPMorgan Chase & Co. to move into the building, in exchange for a promise to create additional jobs and investment. The incentive included a local property break and state tax credits.

A spokeswoman for the Herald did not respond to interview requests.

Michael Joyce, a leasing broker with Richards Barry Joyce & Partners who is overseeing the Herald’s search, did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

The Herald’s current longtime headquarters at One Herald Square in the South End is expected to be redeveloped into a mixed-use complex with 262 apartments, restaurants, stores, and underground parking. The project’s developer is National Development of Newton. Work on the development may begin next year.

Last month, an executive with National Development told the Globe that the Herald is planning to move from its headquarters by the end of the year. The Globe is discussing a contract to print and deliver the Herald.

Herald officials yesterday accepted voluntary buyouts for 11 employees, including three editors, as part of a cost-cutting measure.

Executive arts and lifestyle editor Larry Katz, Sunday editor Lisa Larson, food reviewer Mat Schaffer, and assistant sports editor Joseph Thomas signed the paperwork for the buyout, according to current and former employees.

Among the employees receiving buyouts are advertising and production staffers.

About a dozen other newsroom employees applied for the buyout, but were not approved, according to Herald employees.

Last month, the Herald offered voluntary buyouts to all 385 employees, giving them until July 1 to apply. Members of the Newspaper Guild of Greater Boston, the union representing newsroom employees, were offered severance of two weeks of salary for every year of service.

The terms of the offer meant that yesterday was affected employees’ last day at the company.

“We’re sorry to see any positions lost,’’ Guild president Brian Whelan said. “We are trying to keep this a two-newspaper town. We are dealing with a tough economy.’’

Johnny Diaz can be reached at jodiaz@globe.com.