Two years after the Daily Journal agreed to sell its building to a growing manufacturer, the newspaper is making its move to downtown Franklin.
The Daily Journal spent more than 50 years at its location on U.S. 31 but sold the building to KYB Americas to allow the auto-parts manufacturer to continue expanding. This weekend, the newspaper is completing the move to its new location in the former Hazelett building on East Court Street.
The process started in early 2012 and has taken about two years to complete. During that time, the Franklin-based developer Bemis Group rebuilt the Hazelett building in downtown Franklin, while KYB renovated a portion of the newspaper plant on U.S. 31 no longer in use by the Daily Journal.
Home News Enterprises, the parent company of the Daily Journal, employs about 300 people and is a family-owned multimedia company, publishing and owning newspapers, magazines, websites and specialty publications.
“Today culminates about two years’ worth of planning to move from a cut-up 25,000-square-foot office/industrial space to a very efficient 7,000-square-foot Class A office. Fortunately it turned into a win for KYB, a win for Johnson County, a win for Franklin’s downtown and a win for the Daily Journal,” Home News Enterprises President Jeff Brown said.
“It’s a good long-term solution for the Daily Journal as we continue to grow our newspaper, magazines and other print and digital offerings for the community,” Brown said.
The two-story Hazelett building on East Court Street, which opened as a carriage shop in the 1860s, had been vacant since 1997 and fell into disrepair. The Franklin Development Corp., a nonprofit organization that was created and funded by the city, used $300,000 in tax dollars to help Bemis Group buy the building and provided an additional $100,000 to help with the renovation.
The Daily Journal is leasing the entire second floor. On the first floor, southside Indianapolis cycling shop Gray Goat Sports will use the majority of the space for a new store. Shelley’s Jewelry and Repair will move into a smaller storefront facing East Court Street, while the Bemis Group is searching for another tenant for the other shop facing Water Street, Billy Bemis said.
“The renovation of the Hazelett building will work as a catalyst for future development in downtown Franklin,” Daily Journal Publisher Chuck Wells said. “We are thrilled to see this dream come true. Billy and Todd Bemis have been terrific to work with and the end result speaks for itself.”
The move will put the Daily Journal in the middle of the Franklin community, which has had recent growth of new business and a wave of historic renovations. Although the newspaper will move deeper into Franklin, the Daily Journal will continue to be committed to reporting news and telling the stories from all parts of Johnson County, Wells said.
“Over half of our audience and advertisers are in other parts of the county. We will continue to look at ourselves as the glue holding all of Johnson County together,” Wells said.
Once the Daily Journal moves, KYB will renovate the remaining space of the building into conference rooms and offices for accounting staff and executives. The company also could move its aftermarket parts sales department from Chicago to Franklin, although that decision hasn’t been finalized, KYB vice president of operations Sal Milioto said.
KYB needed room to grow, and the Daily Journal didn’t need as much space after moving the printing of the newspaper to the Home News printing facility near Columbus in 2002. KYB has added about 200 jobs in Franklin since early 2012 and is currently undergoing an expansion to the southeast corner of its main facility.
KYB employs more than 700 workers. KYB began repurposing the southern and eastern ends of the Daily Journal building in 2012. Parts of the building now house research and development and prototype testing shops, Milioto said.
Wells thanked KYB for its cooperation and willingness to share the building until the move to downtown Franklin could be completed.