April 13, 2006
The Dallas Morning News holds groundbreaking ceremony for $50 million packaging production plant in southern Dallas
State-of-the-Art Facility Represents One of Largest Capital Investments in Southern Area; Advanced Systems Support Targeted Marketing and Distribution; 39 Percent of Construction Work Awarded to Minority and Women-Owned Firms
Dallas, TX The Dallas Morning News, the flagship newspaper of Belo Corp. (NYSE: BLC), held a groundbreaking ceremony today for a $50 million packaging production plant in Southern Dallas. The total cost of the land, building and land improvements, and equipment represents one of Belo's largest capital investments ever in the city. It is also one of the three largest capital investment projects made in the last several years in the city's southern sector, according to the City of Dallas Office of Economic Development.
The newspaper's South Plant will be situated on approximately 50 acres fronting Langdon Road in the Dallas Southport Center, which is located at the southwest corner of Interstate 20 and Interstate 45. The location provides convenient highway and rail access that supports newspaper operations. The site also lies within the only Enterprise Zone in the Dallas city limits, which qualified the project for standard development incentives from the City of Dallas and Dallas County related to land and building improvements.
Jim Moroney, publisher and chief executive officer at The Dallas Morning News, said, "Today's groundbreaking ceremony commemorates an important growth milestone for The Dallas Morning News and for the City of Dallas and Southern Dallas in particular. Constructing our new South Plant at this site also confirms the commitment of The Morning News and Belo to serving the needs of people and supporting economic development throughout the Dallas area. We made a very deliberate decision to make this major investment in Southern Dallas."
"We appreciate the support of our civic leaders, including Dallas Mayor Laura Miller, Dallas Councilmember James Fantroy, Dallas County Judge Margaret Keliher and Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, which has been critical to launching this project," he added.
South Plant Expands Sunday Edition Packaging Capacity, Supports Targeted Marketing
The 133,000-square-foot South Plant will provide the newspaper with expanded packaging capacity for its Sunday edition after outgrowing its North Plant facility in Plano, Texas. The new facility will introduce cutting-edge collating and cart-loading equipment that will package advertising supplements in plastic-wrapped bundles for distribution to the newspaper's more than 640,000 Sunday edition subscribers and single-copy customers. Only two other major metropolitan daily newspapers in the country are currently using this advanced packaging process. The facility will also feature an automated storage and retrieval (AS/RS) system that will efficiently store advertising materials for the packaging process.
The South Plant's production system will be so technologically advanced that it will allow The Morning News to package advertising for different customers, based on each customer's target audience down to the household-specific level.
"We are excited that the South Plant will give us the capability to customize advertising content as never before," said Moroney. "The Morning News' commitment to help people 'Live Better Here' also encompasses the ability to deliver advertising that matters most for every reader."
Project Creates Diverse Job Opportunities
Preliminary site preparation work for the South Plant has begun with construction scheduled for completion in early 2007. At that time, The Morning News will begin transitioning Sunday edition packaging operations from its Plano plant with full operations scheduled for the second quarter 2007.
During construction, the project will support approximately 450 jobs with major contractors and subcontractors. Once the plant is fully operational, The Morning News will bring approximately 65 full-time newspaper jobs to Southern Dallas.
The Dallas Morning News is utilizing the services of The Beck Group in planning and developing the project. The architect of record is the Austin Company and the design architect is Good, Fulton & Farrell of Dallas. The general contractor is Austin Commercial.
With approximately 88 percent of the construction work awarded to subcontractors, minority and women-owned businesses (MWBE) now account for 39 percent, or almost
$5 million, of the cost of construction. MWBE subcontractors have been awarded 100 percent of six major construction projects:
Additional MWBE participation has been included in subcontracts awarded by the following lead contractors: Wright Construction for site utilities, Walker Engineering for electrical work, and American Steel and Aluminum for miscellaneous steel.
About The Dallas Morning News and Belo
Established in 1885, The Dallas Morning News is the nation's tenth largest newspaper and serves a readership of nearly 1.6 million. The newspaper has received seven Pulitzer Prizes since 1986, as well as numerous other industry awards recognizing the quality of its investigative and feature journalism, design and photojournalism. Its Web site, DallasNews.com, received the Scripps Howard Foundation National Award for Web Reporting in 2005. In 2003, the paper launched the leading Spanish-language daily in North Texas, Al D a; the standard-setting free weekday paper, Quick; and the nation's first editorial blog. The Dallas Morning News is the flagship newspaper subsidiary of Belo Corp. (NYSE: BLC), one of the nation's largest media companies with a diversified group of market-leading television, newspaper, cable and interactive media assets. A Fortune 1000 company with 7,700 employees and more than $1.5 billion in revenues, Belo operates in some of America's most dynamic markets in Texas, the Northwest, the Southwest, and the Mid-Atlantic and Rhode Island.
Stephanie Hoefken for The Dallas Morning News
Nancy Del Regno for Belo