By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Boston Globe identifies a downtown spot for its new HQ

Not long after John Henry bought The Boston Globe in 2013, he announced that he planned to move the paper to a downtown location and sell the more than half-century-old plant at 135 Morrissey Blvd. News is now breaking that the Globe will move to 53 State St., a building known as Exchange Place. The memo from Globe Media chief executive Mike Sheehan follows.

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 ( 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.

I should note that Adam Gaffin of Universal Hub beat me by a few minutes.

No word in Sheehan’s memo regarding the fate of the Morrissey Boulevard plant.

Also: By coincidence, Sheehan’s announcement comes at the same time that The Washington Post is moving into a new building.

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  1. Lisa Connell

    Thank you for your posts. I like being in the know.

  2. Steve Ross

    Hmm. And the Boston Massacre site is right out in front of the building. No mention of where the Globe will print. The existing plant? I remember when the presses gleamed through the front windows.

  3. Daniel Totten

    Has the Morrissey Boulevard building been sold ?
    Any memtion of ground contamination on the Morrissey site which might likely be preventing sale ?
    Anybody ever talk about cancer rates among former Boston Globe employees ?
    I’d bet if anybody looks into that the rate is astronomical.
    The Taunton move is confusing / 100 mile round trip each day from Taunton to Boston when gas may be lower but still astronomical.
    There was an amazingly useful site available at 2 Granite Ave, Milton / Dorchester line, right on route 93 north/ south on ramps at considerable savings over 53 State / WHY didn’t The Globe look into that site ?
    So many other questions that nobody is asking and worse, nobody is answering !

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Daniel, no, the Morrissey Boulevard building has not been sold, and it’s been reported previously that the toxic waste is one of the reasons. I’ve heard about the cancer rates, but I’ve never heard that they were so far out of the ordinary that there was any reason to suspect the toxic waste was the reason. How would be people be exposed? Even in Woburn, the leukemia rate quickly returned to the norm after the contaminated wells were shut down.

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