Gannett leases empty space in its headquarters building


The McLean-based media company is leasing empty space in its headquarter building. (Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press)

Gannett’s corporate headquarters, a landmark in Tysons Corner, is no longer home to just the Fortune 500 media empire but also to five other companies that have taken up space that the news company no longer needs.

Gannett, like many newspaper companies, has cut its workforce in recent years as it endures advertising and circulation declines. It reported a 33 percent drop in profits in January and last month offered buyouts to 665 employees in its U.S. publishing division.

The company, publisher of 82 daily newspapers including USA Today, owns its 820,000-square-foot headquarters at 7960 Jones Branch Dr., and has aggressively moved to rent the empty space.

Gannett’s tenants include include Maximus, a health and human services contractor, and MarkLogic, a database software provider. When Octagon, a sports and entertainment marketing firm, moves in this fall, the tenants will occupy more than 100,000 square feet of the building, according to data from CoStar Group. Full-service rents in Northern Virginia averaged about $31 a square foot in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the brokerage firm Cassidy Turley.

A Gannett spokeswoman confirmed the building now has five tenants but declined to comment further.


The lobby of Gannett’s headquarters in McLean. (Jeffrey MacMillan/Capital Business)

Tom Birnbach, managing principal of Cresa, a real estate services firm that represents companies looking for space, said that companies wishing to be in Tysons Corner are finding deals if they are willing to move in advance of Metrorail’s arrival and myriad road improvements under way in the area.

“Right now some of the best deals in the market are in Tysons because no one wants to be there because of the construction,” he said.

According to a year-end report issued by Cassidy Turley, tenant demand in Northern Virginia in the first quarter of 2012 could be down as much as two-thirds from the area’s 10-year average. The firm attributed part of the slowdown to moves associated with the Base Realignment and Closure process.

“D.C. metro [area] leasing activity was negatively impacted this quarter, despite generally positive news regarding employment and the economy,” said Jeffrey Kottmeier, Cassidy Turley vice president and director of research, in a statement. “Until this quarter, BRAC-related moves had a relatively minor impact on the Northern Virginia market.”

Jonathan O'Connell has covered land use and development in the Washington area for more than five years.
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Business