The Guardian has fired a traditional opening shot in any rent renegotiation by floating rumours of a move from its Kings Place office. And there’s a right old ding dong about how to finance the Guardian and its digital ambitions post Alan Rusbridger’s editorship.
‘Executives at Guardian Media Group, the publisher of the title, are understood to be looking at offices in at least two alternative London locations as they seek to reduce bills at King’s Place, the Islington development that has hosted it for seven years.
Company sources said the Guardian was likely to seek to retain some space at the site alongside King’s Cross station, but that it was possible sales, back office or editorial departments would be forced to move in the cost-cutting drive. A complete exit also remains possible.
“If they decide they can find cheaper accommodation elsewhere they will have to move,” said a source familiar with the discussions.’
This follows news of the loss of the middle class eaty-nibbly-gossipy space in the Goods Shed and our 1 April piece about a Donald Trump rescue package for the Guardian, moving the staff to Stoke-on-Trent and installing a casino in KP.
The Guardian’s cost-cutting has triggered handbags at dawn articles by media commentators about whether Alan Rusbridger’s approach of spending down some of the Scott Trust’s endowment was the right thing to do in the absence of a sufficiently strong revenue model. Michael Wolff calls it a ‘suicide mission’ but Rusbridger’s recent riposte in the Spectator is a good read reflecting the perspective of someone who had to take tough decisions.
Peter Millican’s Kings Place building, for all the sturm und drang in the planning process (my god how people hated it back then replacing the low-rise 1980s warehouses) was instrumental in helping Kings Cross turn the corner. Peter flogged it for £235m in 2012 and good luck to him. I helped the Guardian with a ‘welcome to Kings Cross guide’ for their staff when they moved from their shabby Farringdon offices. In the early days of the Guardian residency, having read a lot of Clay Shirky I gave a talk on websites in one of the spectacular concert halls that cheekily began with ‘Welcome to the Guardian’s mausoleum’. Hope I wasn’t right.