Journalists Out, Government Workers in at Denver Post Newsroom

The current home of the Denver Post's newsroom — but not for much longer.
The current home of the Denver Post's newsroom — but not for much longer.
Photo by Michael Roberts
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The Denver Post, which announced in May that the paper's newsroom will be moving out of its iconic Denver address, at 101 West Colfax Avenue, to the newspaper's printing facility in Adams County, at the intersection of 58th Avenue and Washington Street, has agreed to sublease the space to the City of Denver for use as employee offices. By year's end, in all likelihood, an area once devoted to keeping the government accountable will be occupied by workers from the government itself.

Publisher Mac Tully confirmed the newsroom move to Post staffers on May 8, following the release three days earlier of information about the subject during hearings related to a lawsuit filed by the newspaper against three former employees, Reid Wicoff, David Staley and Nicole Brennan, over so-called advertising trade secrets.

Jon Murray, the Post's City Hall reporter, was the first to publicly share much of the information about the impending relocation, using his Twitter account to do so. He wrote: "Our publisher has pivoted from "considering" to it's happening: @denverpost's remaining presence downtown will go to Adams County plant.... Details being worked out. Newsroom will move, too. There may be "small office" somewhere downtown for (people like me?) w/ work needs here.... Timeline? @DenverPost move out of Denver (most of it) probably will happen by end of the year, Publisher Mac Tully says.... Our downtown bldg is expensive, of course. But no way to present @DenverPost move out of county as anything other than sad, frustrating."

The Post's piece about the subleasing deal notes that "the city has been in a hiring mode in recent years." The opposite is true of the Post, whose newsroom has shrunk from more than 300 staffers to fewer than 100 — and because other departments have been decreasing in size, too, the 101 West Colfax building has been getting emptier and emptier.

Denver agreed to fill some of these gaps last year. The city council's April 4, 2016, agenda includes a reference to a "resolution approving a proposed Sublease Agreement between the City and County of Denver and The Denver Post LLC for 101 West Colfax Avenue." It reads: "Approves a sublease with The Denver Post LLC as Sublandlord for 45,505 square feet of office premises for various city employees for $10,473,330.93 over 7 years at 101 West Colfax Avenue in Council District 9." The Post points out that that sublease was for "unoccupied space on the seventh floor and part of the first floor."

The latest sublease, which covers the eighth floor (where the newsroom is presently located), is a bit richer than its predecessor, but the area is also larger. Denver will pay $11.2 million for 46,823 square feet over the course of 87 months.

Denver City Council is expected to sign off on the pact in the coming weeks, and government workers will likely begin moving in around December 1, "depending on when the newspaper staff exits the building," the Post specifies.

By the way, reporter Murray wrote the article about the subleasing agreement, which he summarized on Twitter like so: "City gov't will lease out the entire eighth floor in @DenverPost's building...for what, they're not sure yet. But city gov't is growing."

And Post journalists are moving out of town....

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