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GR Press moving

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Posted

Was browsing the FAQ on MLive following the announcement of the MLive Media Group, and this jumped out at me:

Q. Will the local newspaper office remain open?

A. Yes, but The Grand Rapids Press plans to move from its existing building to a new, state-of-the-art digital media facility in a downtown location. That news will be announced when lease arrangements are completed.

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2011/11/how_does_the_launch_of_the_mli.html

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Posted (edited)

A new location for The Press was predictable. It is disappointing to see The Press's accounting and call center jobs being outsourced out of state.

I assume that the old headquarters (and other property) is up for sale or already has a buyer.

Property owned by Herald Publishing Company LLC as recorded by the City of Grand Rapids.

heraldn.jpg

Edited by Gorath

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Posted

This is a lot more important than just a matter of real estate. The Press is moving from a daily print delivery schedule to three days a week -- similar to what is being done in Ann Arbor. The result will be, I think, even more dismal journalism than what has been seen from the Press over the last few years.

The M-Live product now reads like a combination press release from various right wing politicians and the police blotter. The Ann Arbor.com "product" (which I fear the Press will now resemble) is unreadable, written and edited by tyros. I unhappily foresee the Press going in that direction, because experienced journalists are more expensive. (Which is why so many were forced/enticed into early retirement.)

That is very sad, but the notion that e-journalism can be "exciting" is so much garbage. Good journalism takes an investment of time, talent and money -- Advance wants to do it all on the cheap.

As a former Press reporter, I find this news incredibly depressing. Were I living in GR today, I would give up the Press entirely.

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Posted

I bet they rent, not build.

To take a wild stab, Rockford Construction and RDV buy one of their properties, build a building and lease to the Press?

Joe

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Posted

I bet they rent, not build.

To take a wild stab, Rockford Construction and RDV buy one of their properties, build a building and lease to the Press?

Joe

Maybe, but I would guess they simply take a floor in a downtown office building. The only folks on site will be reporters (and a lot fewer of them than there used to be), photogs and editors -- all of the circulation staff is being outsourced and I think the ad staff was already sent to another site.

When it opened in 1966, the Press building featured, in addition to the newsroom, a full photographic studio and darkroom, a "morgue" (library) with extensive clippings and photographic archives, offices for the circulation/classified/display ad staff, almost half a floor for typesetters (I think they were offset by then, but if not, linotypers) and a press room downstairs. Get rid of everything but a downsized newsroom and you have the 21st century newspaper.

I never thought that the "new" GR Press building would probably last fewer years than the "old" Press building at Fulton and Sheldon, which was torn down after about 60 years.

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Posted

Wow, we talked about this exact scenario on here a few years ago. I think I counted about 6 - 10 acres owned by Booth. That's a lot of real estate.

A new location for The Press was predictable. It is disappointing to see The Press's accounting and call center jobs being outsourced out of state.

I assume that the old headquarters (and other property) is up for sale or already has a buyer.

Property owned by Herald Publishing Company LLC as recorded by the City of Grand Rapids.

heraldn.jpg

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Posted

You are probably right, just looking at their timeline.

With the problems the US Post Office is having (in general), and the vacating of the GR Press building, there could be one heck of an opportunity for a massive land grab; if the person had enough clout (and owned Olds Manor). Oh, wait... :)

I'd be glad to see the Press and Post Office gone.

And LA Dave, I get sick every time I see the old Press building. After the Courthouse and City Hall, that building has to be one of the biggest casualties of Urban Renewal.

Joe

Maybe, but I would guess they simply take a floor in a downtown office building. The only folks on site will be reporters (and a lot fewer of them than there used to be), photogs and editors -- all of the circulation staff is being outsourced and I think the ad staff was already sent to another site.

When it opened in 1966, the Press building featured, in addition to the newsroom, a full photographic studio and darkroom, a "morgue" (library) with extensive clippings and photographic archives, offices for the circulation/classified/display ad staff, almost half a floor for typesetters (I think they were offset by then, but if not, linotypers) and a press room downstairs. Get rid of everything but a downsized newsroom and you have the 21st century newspaper.

I never thought that the "new" GR Press building would probably last fewer years than the "old" Press building at Fulton and Sheldon, which was torn down after about 60 years.

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Posted

This is a lot more important than just a matter of real estate. The Press is moving from a daily print delivery schedule to three days a week -- similar to what is being done in Ann Arbor. The result will be, I think, even more dismal journalism than what has been seen from the Press over the last few years.

Sadly considering how “dismal” and irrelevant the Press has become, the story really is mostly just about real estate.

But their plan is not quite the same as the Ann Arbor News which stopped publishing a printed edition completely. The Grand Rapids Press seems to be in following in part the Detroit Free Press and News model of still publishing all editions but delivering to homes only three days a week plus Sunday. I don’t think it is working too well for the News but the Free Press claims they are doing better than anticipated. It could just be that they just didn’t anticipate doing too well to begin with. I’ve been in the habit of buying the Press at noon, along with the Free Press, so that I can read them during lunch. Since they both will still be available in stores nothing changes for me, at least for now.

Despite their business problems, the Free Press (unlike the Press) has actually become better journalistically the last couple of years. Of course it helps to be reporting in a community that seems to have a new scandal every month or so. I’m not sure if the GR Press has the resources to cover a scandal even if they tripped over it.

I think the plan at the Press is to introduce a Kindle style subscription e-edition like the ones in the link and then discontinue the paper editions over time as us old folks who like paper die out:

http://www.amazon.com/The-New-York-Times/dp/B000GFK7L6

. . . written and edited by tyros.

I had to look that word up. If you hadn’t run off to LA and had stayed at the Press maybe it would be better now, or at the least you would have gotten an early retirement package.

.

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Posted

Just quickly tear down the Press building before someone says it's historic.

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Posted

Sadly considering how “dismal” and irrelevant the Press has become, the story really is mostly just about real estate.

But their plan is not quite the same as the Ann Arbor News which stopped publishing a printed edition completely. The Grand Rapids Press seems to be in following in part the Detroit Free Press and News model of still publishing all editions but delivering to homes only three days a week plus Sunday. I don’t think it is working too well for the News but the Free Press claims they are doing better than anticipated. It could just be that they just didn’t anticipate doing too well to begin with. I’ve been in the habit of buying the Press at noon, along with the Free Press, so that I can read them during lunch. Since they both will still be available in stores nothing changes for me, at least for now.

Despite their business problems, the Free Press (unlike the Press) has actually become better journalistically the last couple of years. Of course it helps to be reporting in a community that seems to have a new scandal every month or so. I’m not sure if the GR Press has the resources to cover a scandal even if they tripped over it.

I think the plan at the Press is to introduce a Kindle style subscription e-edition like the ones in the link and then discontinue the paper editions over time as us old folks who like paper die out:

http://www.amazon.com/The-New-York-Times/dp/B000GFK7L6

I had to look that word up. If you hadn’t run off to LA and had stayed at the Press maybe it would be better now, or at the least you would have gotten an early retirement package.

.

Thanks, Walker, but I saw the handwriting on the wall many, many years ago. I have friends who took those packages, though, and the later they took it, the worse it got. I read that the Kalamazoo Gazette staff was down to seven in the entire newsroom -- seven for a city of over 50,000 people and a major regional university.

I like the Freep, and think that it has gotten better. So has the LA Times, though it is much leaner. The Times did it by stopping its try to be a national paper (it actually had a New York gossip column at one point -- when people here wanted to know what was going on in Montebello or Monrovia). Now, the LA Times is focusing on local investigative reporting, and more power to them.

I am not sure about the Press. I think that the Newhouse company over the years has viewed the Booth papers, and their other papers in the chain, as little money machines to fund the glamorous Conde-Nast magazines. Well, that simply isn't happening anymore. Everyone hates the M-Live website, and that doesn't help. I am not inspired by what I have seen on the Press website; a turn to entertainment coverage and away from any hard news except crime. The Press used to be a true paper of record. Not anymore.

The key to this entire issue, IMHO, is journalism, and who pays for it. Increasingly, it isn't necessary to get your news on dead trees, or even on a PC. The Tablet may be the future of journalism, as long as you can get someone to pay for what shows up on it. Clearly, not enough people were willing to pay for the product that the Press and the other Boothies were putting out over the past few years.

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Posted

Just quickly tear down the Press building before someone says it's historic.

AMEN!

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Posted (edited)

With the problems the US Post Office is having (in general), and the vacating of the GR Press building, there could be one heck of an opportunity for a massive land grab; if the person had enough clout (and owned Olds Manor). Oh, wait...

I thought I read somewhere (maybe on this site) that moving the main branch from downtown had been on the USPS' wish list since the '90s, but such a project was understandably low on their funding priorities. If that's true, the USPS' financial problems are probably helping them stay where they are. I might be wrong though.

The vacant properties the Press will leave behind are pretty ripe for opportunity - not just the actual building, but those lots on North Monroe. I wonder if any developers will try to grab the lots and make them a priority over current projects still stuck in the planning stages.

I like the Freep, and think that it has gotten better. So has the LA Times, though it is much leaner. The Times did it by stopping its try to be a national paper (it actually had a New York gossip column at one point -- when people here wanted to know what was going on in Montebello or Monrovia). Now, the LA Times is focusing on local investigative reporting, and more power to them.

The trend seems to be that the big markets are scooping up all the talent while the smaller markets suffer. I used to think the Press was weathering the storm better than most of the other markets, after that year when tons of smaller newspapers folded their print editions, and the Press kept on chugging. But watching the quality deteriorate the past few years has taught me better. And MLive is just insulting to read - nowadays all the headlines are just fodder to rile up the lunatic fringe in the comments section. They haven't adjusted to the Information Age well.

Edited by RegalTDP

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Posted

I just read the same q and a in the Flint Journal, and Kalamazoo Gazette, in which both papers are also leaving their existing buildings for "state of the art" office space downtown. It sounds like every city they are in, is getting the same business model as AnnArbor.com. So every city they service will have an old vacant newspaper building. Makes me wonder if there are any immediate plans for the press building at all.

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Posted

I agree, though you could look at the reduction in service being considered by the Postal Service to be similar to what the Press is going through. Could they do more with less, or more importantly, if someone wanted to pay good money for the real estate, would it be a good time to right size the Post Office?

It'll be interesting. There are a lot of puzzle pieces in that area ripe for redevelopment (where they get the funding, I don't know). :) Maybe the medical mile could come trickling down the hill? :)

I thought I read somewhere (maybe on this site) that moving the main branch from downtown had been on the USPS' wish list since the '90s, but such a project was understandably low on their funding priorities. If that's true, the USPS' financial problems are probably helping them stay where they are. I might be wrong though.

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Posted

If I'm not mistaken, I think that Kent County approached the Press about the property for a new county administration building a few years back. At the time the Press said "no way." The county claimed it was bursting at the seams in its Calder Plaza location. I think they ended up buying some riverfront property north of Old's Manor and the Ford Freeway for a future headquarters. I would say the Press property is prime development for anything from hospitality to healthcare. It will be interesting to see what happens. As for the Press, they will end up taking half a floor in Bridgewater. I think they are desperate for tenants there.

Does Chris Knape still work at the Press?

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Posted

If I'm not mistaken, I think that Kent County approached the Press about the property for a new county administration building a few years back. At the time the Press said "no way." The county claimed it was bursting at the seams in its Calder Plaza location. I think they ended up buying some riverfront property north of Old's Manor and the Ford Freeway for a future headquarters. I would say the Press property is prime development for anything from hospitality to healthcare. It will be interesting to see what happens. As for the Press, they will end up taking half a floor in Bridgewater. I think they are desperate for tenants there.

Yes, Kent County owns the land north of the Post office. Someone could put the Press's, City's & County's properties together for a large development.

grpressriver.jpg

Does Chris Knape still work at the Press?

Yes.

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Posted

I don't see any of this property being proposed for anything major any time soon. With Morton House, 35 Oakes and the JA Building being renovated and absorbing office users (and Bridgewater looking for tenants), the only other alternative would be housing. And I think we'll see several housing projects kicked off around the new Urban Market before we see anything on Michigan Street. I could be surprised though.

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Posted

Agreed. A lot of open space in North Monroe, but I think most development will occur closer to the core in the near future. I don't think Monroe North is nearly as hot as it used to be. A major development on the Press or Post Office could help flip that around, but I'd imagine that will be years from now.

Joe

I don't see any of this property being proposed for anything major any time soon. With Morton House, 35 Oakes and the JA Building being renovated and absorbing office users (and Bridgewater looking for tenants), the only other alternative would be housing. And I think we'll see several housing projects kicked off around the new Urban Market before we see anything on Michigan Street. I could be surprised though.

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Posted

Yes, Kent County owns the land north of the Post office. Someone could put the Press's, City's & County's properties together for a large development.

grpressriver.jpg

Yes.

I hope Chris still has a job when the dust clears. I expect that many at the Press will not. There is a report that the editorial staff at the Kalamazoo Gazette is down to 7, with most of what was left at that newsroom headed out the door. My gut is that the youngest (and cheapest) reporters will still have a job at the Press; my other guess is that the copyediting function (such as it is) for the Chronicle, Gazette and Press will all be done out of GR. That means less clarity, more mistakes (folks in GR don't necessarily know what is happening in Kalamazoo or Muskegon) and, I fear, a crappier product.

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Posted

Yes, Kent County owns the land north of the Post office. Someone could put the Press's, City's & County's properties together for a large development.

grpressriver.jpg

Yes.

i wouldnt mind it if they tore up all that concrete and made a park, is this the area where the whit water rafters want to go?

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Posted

There is a park already just north of the Comsumers Energy property. I would like to see something that would bring in people and/or business while taking advantage of the riverfront location. Not sure what that would be however.

I believe the whitewater rafting group is looking at the river from the fish ladder south to Wealthy St.

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Posted

There is a park already just north of the Comsumers Energy property. I would like to see something that would bring in people and/or business while taking advantage of the riverfront location. Not sure what that would be however.

I believe the whitewater rafting group is looking at the river from the fish ladder south to Wealthy St.

The reason I would like to see a park is, that it would make the empty lots adjacent to the proposed lots more attractive because they would still have a clear unobstructed view of the river and a park. Also, i would like it to connect to river side park (or at least get closer) .. if the di\ensity of that area increases in the future there isnt any green space that is very close..

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Posted

Canal Street Park and 6th Street Park are both right there, and pretty large. As long as they keep a "greenbelt" along the riverfront on that side of the river, I think more parkland will actually be underutilized. The parks there now are virtually empty most of the day.

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Posted

yeah i'd more like to see more trendy bars/ restaurants/ office/ retail bump up to the river, maybe make more take hold

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Posted (edited)

Well here is the long awaited story of where the remaining Press reporters will be moving:

http://www.mlive.com...nounces_of.html

. . . my other guess is that the copyediting function (such as it is) for the Chronicle, Gazette and Press will all be done out of GR. That means less clarity, more mistakes (folks in GR don't necessarily know what is happening in Kalamazoo or Muskegon) and, I fear, a crappier product.

It looks like even the GR Press copyediting etc. won't be done in GR (at least not at this new downtown location):

"Employees who will handle layout, design and editing of print editions of The Press and seven affiliated newspapers will eventually move from the Michigan Street building to a separate office. That location has not been determined yet, Gaydou said"

Edited by walker

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