MERIDEN — The Record-Journal Publishing Co. will move its news and digital media operations from 11 Crown St. to a new headquarters at 500 S. Broad St. by mid-October, publisher Eliot White announced this week.
White told employees the company had signed a five-year, five-month lease with Meriden Business Park LLC to occupy about 10,000 square feet on the building’s second floor. The Record-Journal published its daily newspaper from 11 Crown St. for 110 years and, in recent years, six weekly newspapers and other publications as well. Current news and advertising operations involve increased focus on Myrecordjournal.com, its weekly websites and digital media overall, while printing has been outsourced to Springfield, Massachusetts.
“It’s going to be a really nice space for us,” White said, describing the new location. “Our goal was to stay in Meriden. This has been a long process that’s finally completed and we think worth it. It’s a historic time for the company. We’re more relevant than we’ve ever been with digital and print.”
In May 2014, the Record-Journal sold the 11 Crown St. property to the city of Meriden, which announced recently it had received a grant to conduct environmental cleanup before selling it to a private developer. Eventual plans call for demolition of the Record-Journal building and rebuilding commercial space and residential units on lower Crown Street across from the Hub redevelopment project.
“It’s all coming together kind of the way we wanted,” said Juliet Burdelski, the city’s economic development director. “It’s a nice selection for the Record-Journal. It has easy access to Meriden and Wallingford. We’re very pleased they decided to stay in Meriden.”
The 224,523-square-foot campus on South Broad Street is the former headquarters of the International Silver Co., and more recently the Response Insurance Group, which left the building in 2011. The first floor is occupied by The Money Source, a mortgage lender based in Melville, New York. Fosdick Fulfillment Corp. occupies warehouse and distribution space in the rear portion of the business park.
The business park is within the city’s information technology zone, a designation for IT manufacturers, service businesses and others.
Companies in the zone are eligible for tax abatements on real and personal property. Eligible equipment is 100 percent abated for three years, according to the city’s website.
The city wrote a letter on the Record-Journal’s behalf that helped it secure a low-interest small business loan through the state Department of Economic and Community Development to help finance the lease deal and move. The Record-Journal invested the rest, White said.
The new location is behind the Silver Common retail center, home to Starbucks, a FedEx store, Sakimura restaurant and other small businesses and across the street from Townline Square.
“That area is doing well,” Burdelski said. “Having more people in more space is going to be good for that Broad Street corridor which is seeing a lot of activity.”
The Record-Journal looked at alternative downtown properties on Pratt Street and on Colony Street but found they lacked the necessary space.
A proposed commercial and residential building that recently broke ground at 24 Colony St. would not be ready until at least 2017, well beyond the Record-Journal’s deadline to leave 11 Crown St.
The company employs 92 people in its newsroom, circulation, classified, display and digital advertising departments and in senior management positions. The employees will move to the single-floor office in the next three months before the company’s lease with the city expires in December. While the company will move out in October, the Record-Journal will honor its lease with the city until the end of the year, White said. The YMCA’s Crossfit program, which sublets a small portion of the 11 Crown St. building, will remain in the building until the end of the year.
The Record-Journal has hired Cashman & Katz communications to assist in a company-wide rebranding aimed at educating readers, advertisers and the community about its focus on offering digital products and services that reflect changes in how readers consume news and advertising content.
“For 148 years, the Record-Journal has been the trusted source for news and information in Central Connecticut,” said Shawn Palmer, senior vice president and chief revenue officer for the Record-Journal. “We do more than print a daily newspaper. We now reach more people than we ever have in our history. We have moved beyond offering advertising options only in the products we produce, to where we now offer a suite of over 20 different solutions unrelated to the compelling journalism we produce every day in print and on Myrecordjournal.com. The way we go to market now is so different. We have a lot more to talk about with our business community.”
The Record-Journal also owns the The Westerly Sun in Westerly, Rhode Island, and VS Publishing in Florida.
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