Detroit Free Press, News to leave historic home for smaller building downtown

Current home of both newspapers.
Current home of both newspapers.

In a move that underscores the rapid decline of the newspaper industry, the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News are abandoning their historic downtown home and will become the largest tenant inside the old Federal Reserve building about six blocks away at 160 W. Fort.

Both newspapers have lost so many journalists over the past decade that large areas of their newsrooms are bare.

Federal Reserve Building
Federal Reserve Building

The new building is more accommodating to the newspapers’ digital needs, said Joyce Jenereaux, president of the Detroit Media Partnership.

“It will allow us to move along in our digital transformation by providing an environment that is digital-savvy, and a cool workspace for everybody,” she told the Free Press for a story.

Many staffers didn’t know about the move until they read about it Wednesday on the Crain’s Detroit Business website

The Federal Reserve building was erected in 1927 and later adjoined by a modernist eight-story building designed by famed architect Minoru Yamasaki in 1951.

What’s next for the newspapers’ current building is uncertain. The Albert Kahn-designed building, which was erected in 1917 to serve as the News headquarters, is for sale.

Free Press Building_5788
Former Free Press home.

The move exposes the building to the unpredictabilities of Detroit’s real estate market. In 1998, the Free Press abandoned its skyscraper home at 321 E. Lafayette and moved into the News headquarters. Since then, the Free Press building has remained empty. Hopes of reviving it were heightened last year when a Chinese firm, DDI Group, bought the building for $4.2 million. 

Steve Neavling

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.

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