UPDATE Cumulus Media said this week it closed on the sale of the former tower site for WMAL-AM. The sale of the approximately 75-acre parcel of land in Bethesda, MD to home developer Toll Brothers generated gross proceeds of $74.1 million.
Cumulus received $5 million from the sale in 2019, and expects to receive net proceeds of $71.3 million after transaction fees and expenses. The broadcaster plans to use the money to pay down debt.
Construction of the former tower site for WMAL-AM began in 1940, and it was dedicated the following year. The brick transmitter building was built to look like a colonial-style home to blend in with the surrounding houses. The original four-tower array was dismantled after Cumulus co-located its antennas on another nearby four-tower array in May 2018.
The sale process took five years after neighbors fought the county over the planned development. The public used the land as a dog park and for other recreational uses and said the construction would overwhelm current roads with too much traffic. Toll Brothers plans to build 300+ homes on the site, close to the Capital Beltway.
Cumulus Media President/CEO Mary Berner said, “Given the difficult operating environment, our ability to continue to strengthen our balance sheet with the proceeds of this deal is particularly meaningful, and we greatly appreciate the efforts of Toll Brothers in working with us to bring this five-year effort to completion.”