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ProJo Staying Put at the Providence Journal Building

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After months of speculation about a possible move to Johnston or another suburban location, Rhode Island's statewide newspaper appears to be...

After months of speculation about a possible move to Johnston or another suburban location, Rhode Island's statewide newspaper appears to be consolidating its operations within the historic Providence Journal Building at 75 Fountain Street.

"Staffers have been told to anticipate a move within the building," John Hill, president of the Providence Newspaper Guild, said Tuesday. "Every message we have gotten is that we are staying here."

Hill said it appears the Journal, which once utilized all five stories of the iconic Fountain Street building in downtown Providence, is consolidating its operations on the second floor.

The newspaper once boasted a far larger news and advertising staff. Like other papers, it has struggled with the challenge posed by the Internet, and repeatedly made cuts through buy-outs and layoffs.

Yet the move to keep the statewide daily in the capital city is at least a small victory. "It's where it belongs -- it's the Providence Journal," Hill said, adding that initial talk about a possible move out of the capital city caused anxiety among staffers.

Arnold "Buff" Chace, part of a group that completed its purchase of the Journal Building from former ProJo owner A.H. Belo in June, declined comment for this story. Chace has previously said he hoped to retain the Journal as a tenant, while attracting new tenants for space elsewhere in the building being freed by the newspaper.

ProJo publisher Janet Hasson couldn't be immediately reached for comment for this story.

Belo, which sold the Journal to New Media Investment Group in 2014, unsuccessfully tried for years to sell or lease the structure at 75 Fountain Street until the sale last year.

In related news, Scott Connolly, senior VP for sales and marketing at the Journal, has given notice that he is leaving the ProJo.

The Journal building was designed by Detroit-based architect Albert Kahn, among the top industrial designers of his day. Although the structure was built in 1934, when the Depression remained in effect, the Journal's fortunes were rising.

ProJo Staying Put at the Providence Journal Building
ProJo Staying Put at the Providence Journal Building