Herald HQ Sold to Owner of Herald HQ

Everybody knew it was coming, but now it’s official, the Herald is leaving its shabby, iconic brick headquarters in the South End/Chinatown. Read about it here, here and here. Herald publisher (and landlord) Pat Purcell has sold the land (to himself and a few other guys), presumably so it can be redeveloped in such a way that helps address the area’s dangerously low levels of unaffordable housing.

The move was inevitable not just because the Herald is ailing and the land Herald HQ is on is worth a lot more than Herald HQ, but also because of the changing character of the neighborhood. That corner of the South End (now, in a fit of real-estate-agent-driven loathsomeness, called “SoWa”) is one of the strangest parts of the city right now, boasting a notorious homeless shelter, the Herald, an alternative weekly paper, the Medieval Manor, an Asian market radiating a choking mephitic odor of fish, and a great, great old school Irish bar, all ringed by obscenely expensive luxury condos.As far as I know, it’s the only place in town where one can drop a mil on a condo, then stand at the window drinking a Manhattan and chuckling haughtily as the desperate, addled people below engage in hammer fights, dice games in the middle of East Berkeley Street or various forms of mortifying public homeless sex. It’s some quality, Roman-grade decadence for the area’s well-heeled condo buyers.

Clearly, the days of these sorts of scenes are numbered, as the wave of gentrification surges through the area, replacing all in its path with numbing benignity. You’d be a fool to think you can resist it, and Pat Purcell’s no fool.

The Herald’s got six years to find a new building, and rumor has it that due to financial constraints, they’re eyeing the outskirts of the city. Maybe they can secure a spot next to the Globe’s HQ on that stretch of Morrissey Boulevard that’s so dusty and lifeless it may as well be on the moon. I’ve never met a Globe staffer who didn’t hate that location. Bear’s Worth considering.