Gazette building to go on sale, but newspaper to remain in Northampton 

  • The Daily Hampshire Gazette’s headquarters at 115 Conz St. in Northampton. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/29/2020 4:21:52 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A building with more than 45,000 square feet of space at the edge of downtown Northampton, in close proximity to Interstate 91, has been the headquarters of the Daily Hampshire Gazette for almost 45 years.

This week, the 115 Conz St. building and its 3.57 acres of land go on the market for $4.2 million — matching both its appraised and assessed value — with Goggins Real Estate.

Even though Publisher Michael Moses said the decision to sell the building means the Gazette is looking to get out of the real estate business, the company, owned by Newspapers of New England, has no intention of leaving the city where the newspaper has been located since 1786.

“The Gazette will continue to be published here, either in this facility or another one,” Moses said.

Moses cited the outsourced printing and distribution, which began this week, and the greater ability for people to work remotely — with even more employees doing so during the pandemic — as reasons to downsize.

“Our space requirements have been reduced significantly,” Moses said.

The Gazette currently has 51 people on staff.

The Gazette moved to the site in October 1975 from 16 Armory St., where it had been based since November 1927. The building was built for the former First National Supermarket, which had closed and was being used as storage for ProBrush when acquired by then Gazette owners H.S. Gere & Sons.

Since becoming the Gazette headquarters, the building has had several additions. The first, in 1988, added about 36% more workspace for editorial, advertising and composing staffs, including new offices at the south end of the building.

Then, in 2000, a 6,000-square-foot addition created a second receiving dock for pre-printed advertisements and more room for distribution to accommodate an 80-foot-long automatic, pre-print inserting machine and three loading conveyors to take newspaper bundles directly to delivery cars and trucks.

The most recent expansion came in 2007, as an addition for the Cerutti S-4 flexographic press that operated from August 2008 until Monday.

Real estate agent Patrick Goggins said the Gazette has an “unusual building.”

“The addition of the press has made the building certainly unique,” Goggins said. “It’s a hard combination to tie together that makes for good use of the space.”

To look at the site for the highest and best use, Goggins points to the nearby Atwood Drive, where the former Clarion Hotel was demolished to make way for several professional and medical buildings.

Whether the Gazette building can be repurposed, or will be torn down, could be determined now that it is on the market.

Goggins said similar properties for development potential in Northampton and surrounding communities have seen different outcomes. One that has remained on the market in Northampton, and not been developed, is a former car dealership on King Street, while in Easthampton a closed dealership is being used for a future home of the River Valley Co-op.

There are also the unchartered waters caused by the pandemic and whether remote working will become the norm. Goggins said the building’s appraisal has been determined by how much a similarly sized building could be rented for.

Moses said staying in the building after a sale is a possibility the Gazette might pursue. “Our preference is to remain here in a refreshed and reimagined space,” Moses said.

“There’s opportunity for us to get an updated workspace for employees and a place people feel good about coming to work,” Moses said.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at
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