After scrapping its plans to move downtown, the New Haven Register has finalized plans to move up beyond Quinnipiac Meadows, receiving its only needed public approval Wednesday night.
The paper sold its current building at 40 Sargent Dr. to Jordan’s Furniture and will be moving to 100 Gando Dr. The Register originally sought a downtown location for some employees, then changed its mind because the concerns about the cost of parking and egress, despite lobbying from City Hall.
The City Plan Commission Wednesday voted to approve a site plan the newspaper presented to convert the industrial space on Gando Drive to offices. Gando Drive is near I-91 at the New Haven-North Haven border.
After years of downsizing, the Register no longer needed the 220,000 square-foot Sargent Drive space. It now plans to occupy 18,000 square feet on two floors of the 160,000-square-foot Gando Drive building.
“Quite honestly, the newspaper industry since 2007 has been very volatile over the years,” said Register Publisher Kevin Corrado. “From 2008 to 2010, there have been 166 newspapers that have closed, and the company that owns the Register – the Journal Register Company – has gone under bankruptcy twice … Our goal is to stay in New Haven to deliver what our First Amendment responsibilities are from a news organization.”
The Register aims to model the new office space using “universal design,” with “flexible, open work space” to enable employees to communicate easily with each other across two floors and facilitate cooperation and discussion among bureaus and departments in the building.
The Register does not plan to make changes to Gando Drive itself or to the nearby intersections. It does plan to restripe the parking lot, but otherwise to confine changes to the building’s interior.
Attorney Carolyn Kone, who represented the paper before City Plan, told the commissioners that the space on Gando Drive has been empty for “quite a while.” The commission voted unanimously to approve the site plan.
“I’m glad the Register is staying in New Haven. This is an industrial commercial area of the city we tend to forget about with everything going on downtown, so I’m glad to see this,” said Commissioner Kevin DiAdamo. “A lot of people think this area is in North Haven, but it’s not: it’s part of the New Haven commercial base.”