The Detroit News and Free Press are abandoning their shared historic downtown headquarters in search of smaller homes for their combined 1,500 employees, the newspapers announced today.
The Detroit Media Partnership, which operates the two newspapers, is hunting for new office space in downtown or midtown and selling the headquarters at 615 W. Lafayette Blvd.
The announcement is a potential setback for another historic building in Detroit. Built in 1917, the faux-stone concrete building was designed by Detroit’s celebrated architect, Albert Kahn. Originally used by the Detroit News, the building was renovated to accommodate the Free Press in 1998 when the newspaper abandoned its nearby headquarters, which still sits empty.
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“Our current building is historic, but it’s been obsolete for decades,” Joyce Jenereaux, president of the Detroit Media Partnership, said in an email statement. “We haven’t printed newspapers in this building for more than 40 years, but we’re still operating in offices that were, in many cases, converted from pressroom and newsprint storage area.”
The Detroit News and Free Press have been shedding jobs through layoffs and early retirements to offset massive drops in advertising revenue. In 2009, the newspapers slashed home delivery to three days a week.
“This is a great opportunity to find efficient, up-to-date space in Detroit’s core – which more than ever is the heartbeat of our region and state,” said Free Press Editor and Publisher Paul Anger. “Our new offices will reflect current and future needs – something designed for a newsroom that publishes on so many digital platforms.”
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.