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D&C to sell Exchange Blvd. building downtown

The Democrat and Chronicle Media Group Friday said its building at 55 Exchange Blvd. is up for sale. The newspaper said, via its website, that it plans to move into a new home for its operations in Rochester by mid-2014.

Michael Kane, Democrat and Chronicle president and publisher and Gannett U.S. Community Publishing East Group president, said in the online story that the building no longer fit the company’s size and needs for its staff. Kane said the company is committed to staying in the city of Rochester and real estate services firm CBRE Group Inc. will assist in selling the building and helping the newspaper find a new home. The property is assessed at $4.27 million.

Gannett has owned the building on Exchange since 1928. The building originally housed the now-defunct Times-Union, which was published as an afternoon counterpart to the Democrat and Chronicle. The building was Gannett’s corporate headquarters until 1986, when the company made Virginia, home of its flagship newspaper, USA Today, its central hub.

The company has been cutting its workforce over the past several years as its advertising revenues have declined. One of its recent, major cuts came in mid-2011 when Gannett announced plans to lay off 700 employees, roughly 2 percent of its workforce.

Last April, the Democrat and Chronicle said goodbye to 18 employees, including well-known sports columnist Bob Matthews and news columnists Mark Hare and Bob Marcotte, as part of a retirement program.

The Democrat and Chronicle Friday reported that Gannett has been focusing on better ways to utilize its real estate assets. The company said it already has put the headquarters for some of its other newspapers up for sale, including the Des Moines Register and the Indianapolis Star.

(c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

One comment

  1. First of all, given the historical and cultural significance this building has for the national newspaper industry, a school for journalism and communications studies would be an appropriate new use for the property. Perhaps the Gannett Foundation could be convinced to financially support this project. Secondly, does this mean that D&C readers will not be subjected to the rose-colored, downtown boosterism featured regularly on the D&C Editorial and Business pages? This is nothing more than the corporate hypocracy that is evident in America today. Today’s D&C is basically advertising, obituaries, AP newsline reporting and a few local stories. And of course readers are charged 33% more for the newspaper. Gannett moved to the Virginia suburbs of Washington,DC because Rochester did not fit their self-model of success for a national journal. Now, Rochester should forget about Gannett and cancel their subscription to the D&C, with the prospect that a new, quality news source will become the regional information reporter of record. Make no mistake about it, an empty building at one of the most important corners in downtown Rochester will have a very negative impact!

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