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Why did Gannett Move Out to McLean?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by LanceyHoward, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. LanceyHoward

    LanceyHoward Active Member

    Last week I drove past the former Gannett headquarters in the Roslyn section of Arlington and then I drove past the new headquarters at Tyson's Corner.

    Which got me wondering. What was the official rationale offered on spending that much money to move from a 1980's (?) building out to Tyson's?

    Would I be to cynical in assuming the top executives lived in the posh neighborhoods of McLean and reduced their commutes.
     
  2. CNY

    CNY Member

    No.

    I always heard it was a combination of a huge rent hike in Rosslyn and corporate ego wanting a palatial HQ. And then they would up having to lease newsroom space in D.C. for the White House and Congress reporters and editors.
     
  3. They also got the last cheap piece of land out there from an old lady who was auctioning off her family farm. This was years before most of the development started there.

    Also, Tom Curley wanted a softball field.
     
  4. MisterCreosote

    MisterCreosote Well-Known Member

    It doesn't matter where they are anymore. The Crystal Palace is more than half empty these days.
     
  5. EStoess

    EStoess Member

    Unrelated, but since I'm on a posting hot streak, Hilton moved its global headquarters from Beverly Hills to McLean when it hired its new CEO, Chris Nassetta, years ago, in part because that's the area he was from. Other reasons too, but that was near the top.
     
  6. CNY

    CNY Member

    Actually, Hilton temporarily leased space in the Gannett HQ while its building down the street was under construction. Also, Gannett sold the land the softball field was on a few years back. There are now, however, on- and off-ramps to the Beltway right next to the building, so some commutes got a bit easier.
     
  7. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    I thought, in all seriousness, that part of the reason for the Army Times et al purchase, as the softball field was part of the property - but that was in Springfield, Va., and long before any talk of breaking ground at Tysons.
     
  8. wicked

    wicked Well-Known Member

    The Army Times/Springfield Offset field was sold a few years ago. It's now a Progressive Insurance facility.
     
  9. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Next time I'm in town, I'll drop by and say hello to Flo.
     
  10. Dr. Howard

    Dr. Howard Member

    The honchos wanted the softball field, a heli-pad, and easy access to Dulles Toll Road so they could get to the corporate jets. They sold the land used for the softball field, no one can remember seeing a helicopter (not one belonging to Mother G, anyways), and they soon ditched not only the corporate jets but the entire department that was involved with them. Nice planning. Thanks for the memories.
     
  11. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    At least their softball team is still pretty good.
     
  12. geddymurphy

    geddymurphy Member

    The softball field got a lot of use as a soccer field. Some guys played two, three times a week. Not that many from the editorial side, but a couple.

    I think the volleyball courts were used once. There was also a horseshoes pit that I don't think was ever used.

    They also had a steep running trail around the softball field commonly used for the gym's "boot camp" sessions. Some remarkably fit people in that building. I don't think any of them work in the sports department -- the sports people don't have time for that.

    It's important to remember that they were renters in Rosslyn. Now they're landlords. A few other groups have taken up office space in the building. That office is one of Gannett's best tangible assets. Conference rooms galore? Check. All wired up? Check. Gym? Check. Tennis courts and basketball courts? Check. (And they're used fairly often.) Parking? Check. Auditorium? Check. Cafeteria with surprisingly decent food? Check. On-site catering for various functions? Check.

    It was built according to the old AOL rule of thumb that if you build a nice happy campus, people will stick around and work there. And if you were single, you might as well spend 10-12 hours a day there -- get a good hour of tennis and a leisurely lunch on your workday.

    Here's the sad part -- the hallway leading to the cafeteria (passing the gym, the former bank and the former hair salon) had a long, long run-on sentence spelled out in yellow neon script. It was close to 100 words. Turns out it costs money to power and maintain such a thing. They turned it off. The hallway was kind of dark after that, kind of an eerie reminder of the company's hubris.
     
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