Feb. 20--The Detroit Free Press and Detroit News will relocate later this year to a building that's closer to the city's downtown core, the president of the joint business operations for the news organizations announced Wednesday.
The new offices in the Federal Reserve Building at 160 W. Fort St. will foster the company's focus on digital media, said Joyce Jenereaux, president of the Detroit Media Partnership and the Free Press.
"We're really looking to create a new work environment consistent with how we're doing business now, as a digital media organization," she said, describing the space as open and collaborative, with informal meeting spaces.
"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."
The move will affect about 550 employees of the newsrooms and partnership. It is expected to be complete by the end of September.
"We will be the largest tenant of the building, with a sign hanging on the exterior," Jenereaux said in an e-mail Wednesday night to employees.
Alan Lenhoff, director of project management and corporate communications for the DMP, said the three organizations will occupy both the newer and older parts of the building. The Free Press and News will continue to have separate areas.
Jenereaux said a long-term lease for the building is in the works and should be signed within the next four to five weeks. Details of the lease were not disclosed.
The Federal Reserve Building is owned by Dan Gilbert's Bedrock Real Estate Services and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Jenereaux said.
She said the new location reflects the company's commitment to Detroit. It is in a vibrant area of downtown, about a block and a half from Campus Martius Park.
"We're staying downtown, and we're moving into a beautiful building that's going to meet our modern publishing needs," said Free Press Editor and Publisher Paul Anger. "We're really looking forward to it."
The Detroit Media Partnership announced in January 2013 that it was planning to leave its current location at 615 W. Lafayette, just east of the Lodge Freeway, and move elsewhere in the city.
The building on Lafayette remains for sale.
Building in 2 stages
The Federal Reserve Building consists of a traditional marble-clad bank structure built in 1927 and, more importantly, the modernist eight-story building designed by famed architect Minoru Yamasaki in 1951 when he was the chief designer for Smith, Hinchman & Grylls.
Yamasaki's addition, known as the Annex, was considered the first important new building built in downtown Detroit following World War II and the central city's first structure in the modernist style. Yamasaki went on to found his own firm and became world famous for designing the World Trade Center towers in New York.
The Federal Reserve Building was purchased recently by Quicken Loans founder and chairman Gilbert and his partners and has been thoroughly renovated. It is now home to the architectural firm Rossetti, which was commissioned to oversee the renovation work.
As with many of Gilbert's buildings, some of the 1950s office decor has been stripped away to reveal the more basic bones of the building, such as exposed ceiling ducts and concrete floors, a style that is considered more adaptable to today's creative-minded tenants.
The Federal Reserve is one of about 40 buildings that Gilbert now owns or controls in the immediate area surrounding Campus Martius Park.
The current home of the Free Press and News, a 1917 Albert Kahn-designed structure, was constructed primarily as a newspaper printing plant. It has been retrofitted periodically as publishing needs changed.
The building's original occupant was the Detroit News. The DMP moved there in 1989, and the Free Press in 1998.
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