USA Today publisher Gannett moves out of longtime Tysons HQ

Valo Park office complex at 7950 Jones Branch Drive in Tysons (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Newspaper publisher Gannett has left its longtime home in Tysons.

The media company behind USA Today and hundreds of local news outlets across the U.S. moved out of its headquarters at Valo Park (7950 Jones Branch Drive) in February, setting the stage for a relocation to New York City.

In its latest annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gannett said it has leased an approximately 24,000-square-foot space in New York City that will serve as its new corporate headquarters, starting March 31.

However, the journalists and other staff at USA Today’s now-shuttered newsroom in Tysons will work remotely or out of its existing D.C. bureau, which will be maintained, according to Gannett.

“We’re embracing our flexible working model by investing more in our people and technology — rather than real estate,” a Gannett spokesperson told FFXnow. “We remain firmly committed to the sustainable future of journalism as we adapt to a progressively digital world.”

Some USA Today workers commemorated the closure of their newsroom in social media posts. Senior reporter Mike Snider reflected on buying a home in the area when Gannett moved to Tysons, as news staff gathered to “toast the building” on Feb. 15, a day before they had to clear out the office where he’d worked for more than 22 years.

In a Jan. 27 Instagram reel, newly hired visual editor Alexa Julianaard shared a recap of her first and only week working at the building, describing the office’s emptiness as “a little bittersweet.”

“I think it’s really cool how they’re embracing remote work,” she said in the reel.

Founded in 1906, Gannett operates approximately 340 news outlets that cover 220 different communities in the U.S., along with the U.K.-based subsidiary Newsquest. Including USA Today, the company employs around 3,200 journalists, according to its SEC report.

Though Gannett is the country’s biggest newspaper publisher in terms of circulation, hundreds of unionized journalists walked out in a one-day strike last June, criticizing a 2019 merger with GateHouse Media that they said had left the company burdened in debt and created “news deserts,” the New York Times reported.

The company built its corporate headquarters at Valo Park in 2001, opening two office towers on a 30-acre campus that included a jogging path, a fitness center, athletic facilities and a helipad.

As advertising and circulation rates declined in the early 2010s, Gannett started shedding some of its office space through sub-leases, the Washington Business Journal reported in 2013. Rumors that the company was looking to sell its headquarters came to fruition in 2015, when the London-based real estate investment company agreed to buy the site for $270 million, per the WBJ.

Around that same time, Gannett split up its media publishing and digital/broadcast operations. Tegna, the spin-off company created to house the digital and broadcast operations, including the local news channel WUSA9, is still headquartered in Tysons at 8350 Broad Street in The Boro.

According to the SEC report, Gannett is still leasing approximately 176,000 square feet at Valo Park under a deal that won’t expire until October 2030. Broker CBRE lists 83,651 square feet — the entire second floor — as available for sub-leasing.

Read more on FFXnow…

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