Denver’s newspaper of record is one step closer to moving its news operation out of downtown. However, some staff of the The Denver Post’s parent company may hold onto their offices atop 101 West Colfax Avenue, for now.
A Denver City Council committee on Tuesday unanimously approved the idea of renting the Post’s current newsroom space for about $11.2 million over seven years. City staff could take over the eighth floor of the building by Dec. 1, according to city records.
Councilman Kevin Flynn asked whether the city would now be the largest tenant in the building — which appears likely — and, maybe jokingly, whether it might “get to have its name on the building.”
Under the proposed contract, the Post would be subleasing about 47,000 square feet to the city. The paper plans to move its main newsroom operation out to 5990 Washington Street in Adams County, the site of a printing facility. That’s about two miles north of the interchange of interstates 25 and 70.
The contract does not include the eleventh floor, where staff and executives with Digital First Media keep their offices.
Kieran Nicholson has worked for 30 years out of the Post’s various offices downtown. As a reporter and the newsroom representative for the Denver Newspaper Guild, he said he’s taking the move in stride.
“You definitely pick your battles. I don’t see this as a big one. This sure beats getting laid off, or more buyouts … and I’d rather have to move than have this staff take any more hits,” he said.
The fact that DFM’s staff could stay downtown did not offend him either, he said. The eleventh floor has a smaller footprint than the rest of the building, so it may not have suited the city’s immediate needs. And the proposed contract does give the city the right of first offer on the eleventh floor, if it becomes available.
“What DFM does is up to them,” he said.
The newspaper’s leadership hopes to keep some reporters downtown in a smaller space but no further details have been announced.
“We haven’t started looking for downtown space, as far as I know. We’re still many months from the move and there are many, many details to be addressed,” editor Lee Ann Colacioppo wrote in an email.
Denver still hasn’t detailed exactly who would go in the new space, but current city buildings are “at capacity,” and the government is adding staff at a rate of about 225 full-time employees per year, excluding law enforcement.
The city already is subleasing and has practically filled the first and seventh floors of the Post building.
For his part, Nicholson figures the new office at least should be easily accessible to highways and the amenities of Brighton Boulevard.
“I hear that the company is striving to build us and put us in a 21st century newsroom,” he said. “That’ll be nice — it’ll be comfortable. There’ll be new equipment. Again, I’m trying to be the optimist on this.”
The contract awaits approval by the full council. DFM had not returned a request for comment as of publication.