Sale signs go up at Lord Black's HQ

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The Independent Online

Conrad Black has definitely left the building.

Number 10 Toronto Street, at the heart of Canada's commercial capital, has been put up for sale with a price tag of around C$2m (£1m). It is known rather better as the global HQ for the past 28 years of the media empire run by Lord Black of Crossharbour, which once included The Daily Telegraph, The Spectator and The Jerusalem Post.

The disgraced tycoon no longer turns up, having been ousted from his holding company, Hollinger, after a financial scandal erupted. The peer now faces charges from the US Securities and Exchange Commission that he, and other senior executives, embezzled over £50m from Hollinger and its US associate, Hollinger International.

Two weeks ago Lord Black lost a battle to be allowed to retain 13 boxes of documents that he removed from 10 Toronto Street in May last year. Lord Black was spotted carrying the boxes into his limousine, causing local wags to speculate that he had forgotten CCTV had been installed at the offices.

The 153-year-old building, which used to be a post office and later government offices, is crowned by the insignia of Queen Victoria - an appropriate mark for someone who renounced his Canadian citizenship so he could accept a British peerage.

The 12,000 square feet site was recently designated a heritage property by the local authorities, which limits its development potential and use as offices.

But Michael Cowie, the real estate agent who is handling the sale, expects a keen auction, which will be by sealed bids. "We've had calls from quite an eclectic group of people around the world," he said.

However, the links with the tycoon will not be part of the sales pitch. "We're not really pumping that up in our offering."