By Lydia Wheeler
The Daily Press, a Tribune Co. publication, and its publishing operations are moving from Warwick Boulevard to City Center at Oyster Point in Newport News.
In August, the newspaper staff of about 150 employees will move into 701 Mariners Row. The company has signed a 10-year lease with options.
"With outsourcing of printing, we did not need our large industrial campus," said Gary Weitman, senior vice president of corporate relations at Tribune Co., in an email response to questions. "This puts us in an urban setting that is more convenient for our customers and employees."
The Daily Press will be the anchor tenant in the Merchants Walk South building and occupy about 21,000 square feet of the 58,000-square-foot building between the first and second floors.
"The old newspapers were such giants," said Bill Hudgins, of Newport News Town Center LLC, which developed City Center at Oyster Point. "They occupied 100,000 square feet. There is a new generation media footprint with digital platforms and the way the news is transmitted. We couldn't be more excited to have the leader in news media on the Peninsula as an anchor tenant at City Center."
Norfolk-based Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate manages City Center at Oyster Point, which broke ground in 2000.
Hudgins is president and CEO of Harvey Lindsay's development services group.
After the recession and one of the coldest winters the Southeast has seen in recent years, he said, leasing activity at the mixed-use center is finally starting to pick up.
Paragon Theaters, a 50,000-square-foot movie theater with 12 screens, is opening May 22 at 701 Town Center Drive. Hudgins said the theater will have 1,300 oversized, reclining leather seats and serve craft beer and food. It's the evening and weekend catalyst the City Center has been missing, he said.
In October 2013, Middle Ground Boulevard Extension is expected to open. The new four-lane road will connect Warwick Boulevard to the Oyster Point Business Park at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Middle Ground Boulevard. The road, Hudgins said, will create a convenient way for residents along the James River to travel to City Center.
Tech Center at Oyster Point broke ground in February. Whole Foods, which is expected to open in summer 2015, will be the retail anchor of the development that will combine commercial, residential and research space on 43 acres next to the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility.
"In 14 years we've been able to demonstrate to the market this is the center of commerce on the Peninsula," Hudgins said. "Everything about City Center is market-driven. Our first building came out of the ground in 2000 to 2001 and we had a bold agenda of being the central business district for the Virginia Peninsula."
Other additions to City Center include Travinia Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar, which is set to open in August at the corner of Thimble Shoals Boulevard and Fountain Way. The Italian restaurant will have two outdoor fire pits and an outdoor bar on its patio.
Hudgins said there are also a number of remodeling projects under way. W.M. Jordan Co. is renovating the lobby area and all of the rooms in the Newport News Marriott at City Center. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the summer.
And the Langley Federal Credit Union, one of five corporate headquarters at City Center, is expanding and moving its contact center from Hampton to the first floor of the Fountain Plaza Three building.
As for the former Daily Press property at 7505-7545 Warwick Blvd., Patrick Gill, a senior vice president at CBRE | Hampton Roads, who has been hired as the listing agent, said it's on the market for $3.9 million.
In addition to the 85,812-square-foot three-story office building, the campus includes a 100,738-square-foot production/warehouse space. The Daily Press first opened its offices and printing operations on the property in 1968.