The Globe is taking its first concrete steps to vacate Morrissey Boulevard so John Henry can re-develop the parcel. In a memo to staff today, Globe CEO Mike Sheehan writes:
Over Memorial Day Weekend in 1958, The Boston Globe left our home on Washington Street's Newspaper Row and moved to Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester. The move was a catalyst for the most dramatic transformation in our history, both in the depth and quality of our journalism and in the scope of our media operations. Under the leadership of seven world-class editors, 23 Pulitzer Prizes were earned here, and we've grown from a single media offering to over a dozen print, digital, and broadcast properties.
Today, we signed a Letter of Intent with UBS to move our editorial and business operations to 53 State Street, Exchange Place. Assuming this leads to a signed lease, and we have every expectation that it will, the move will mark a bit of a homecoming, bringing BGMP back to the same neighborhood we vacated 58 years before. We plan on occupying the second and third floors, which are the largest floor plates in the building, integrating the former Boston Stock Exchange space with the glass tower that was built in 1985.
I have a particular fondness for the building, having moved another company there eight years ago. The reasons for choosing Exchange Place extend far beyond the inarguable fact that I am a creature of habit. First and foremost are location and accessibility. For a journalistic enterprise, there is just no substitute for being able to walk to City Hall, the State House, and virtually every corporate headquarters in the city. If you had to drop a pushpin on the single location that's most accessible by public transportation, this would be it. The MBTA's Blue Line and Orange Line have a stop under the building, the Green Line is a block away at Government Center, and the Red Line is just down the street at Downtown Crossing. The building is equidistant and walkable from the North Station and South Station commuter rail terminals as well as the commuter boat.
This move would materially change the answer to "where do you want to meet for lunch?" Cosi and Au Bon Pain are in the building, and there must be a few hundred other dining options within walking distance.
What excites me most about the move is the ability to design our space around the vision of where we want to go. We have retained Gensler (gensler.com) to help us create our new work environment, and they have begun the process of space planning and design.
I honestly believe there is no greater opportunity to redefine and transform the culture of The Boston Globe than to move to and work in the ideal location, right in the heart of the city, in an environment designed for the future of journalism. It worked for us when we moved to Morrissey Boulevard in 1958. And it'll be equally powerful when we move to Exchange Place which, if all goes according to plan, will be on January 1, 2017.