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Detroit Papers Leaving Longtime Address

Papers leaving Lafayette Blvd. after 95 years
By T.C. Cameron
Detroit’s been defined by cars, music and sports for decades. The stories spun from those industries usually came from one of the city’s singular, historic addresses: 615 W. Lafayette.
But for the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press that’s going to change.
The Detroit Media Partnership, business agent for Detroit’s two daily papers, announced the papers are looking to execute a move within the next 12 to 18 months. The two papers operate separately under a unique joint operating agreement (JOA) and haven’t offered daily home delivery since 2009.
The News hasn’t printed from their current address since the 1970s, and the Free Press hasn’t since leaving their own building in 1998 to move in with The News.
The building, garage and affiliated parking lot will be up for sale. Partnership president Joyce Jenereaux said the company would prefer to be downtown, but would not rule out a move to Detroit’s burgeoning Midtown or other areas.
“Our current building is historic, but it’s been obsolete for decades,” Jenereaux said in an emailed statement to the Detroit News. “Our commitment is unchanged—we see great things happening in Detroit—and fully intent to be part of that.”
Like other big city papers, the News and Free Press are operating within an iconic structure built for a forgone era of journalism. Building maintenance, energy costs and taxable footage are leveraged against shrinking profits and noticeably smaller staffs. All this contributes to the decision to leave a famed address.
The two Detroit dailies print their papers in a suburban Sterling Heights, nearly 25 miles from their downtown address, which remains headquarters for the online publishing arm.
Designed by Albert Kahn, the building has been home to the News since 1917 and outlived other iconic edifices such as Tiger Stadium, Michigan Central Station and Motown Records. The Detroit Free Press left a similar building to move in with the News in 1998.
The partnership has announced any move will not result in layoffs for the building’s combined staff of about 600 workers. The two papers, including the partnership, employ about 1,500 people in southeast Michigan.
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