Worcester Business Journal
The more than 200-year-old law firm Fletcher Tilton will move into two floors in the Mercantile Center at 100 Front St. in Worcester, including the fifth floor, which currently houses the Telegram & Gazette, the media organization whose logo adorns the top of the office tower.
The Telegram & Gazette will move out of the offices in stages in June and July, said Charles “Chip” Norton, managing director of Franklin Realty Advisors, the Wellesley-based firm that owns the Mercantile Center.
It is a possibility the Telegram could take office space elsewhere in the building, but Norton would not discuss any potential negotiations on a lease of new space.
The Telegram & Gazette was a long-term occupant of the building for more than 10 years, according to Franklin, and dominated office space in the tower, at one point occupying multiple floors for its news and business operations.
The newspaper’s parent company, Virginia-based Gannett, has been steadily reducing the amount of staff. For example, the Telegram newsroom has 21 employees, according to its website. That’s down from the 162 employees who moved into two floors of the office building back in July 2012.
A statement from the Telegram & Gazette spokesperson didn’t commit to the publication staying in the Mercantile Center, only that the company is evaluating its options.
“The Telegram & Gazette office is a leased space located in Worcester. As we evaluate our needs, we are firmly committed to serving our readers and advertisers,” the statement said.
Fletcher Tilton will take over more than 20,000 square feet on the fifth floor and part of the 10th floor. The move will make way for a full build out for Fletcher Tilton, which signed a 10-year lease. The space is expected to be complete for occupancy in December, according to a Thursday press release from Mercantile Center owner Franklin Realty Advisors.
“We are so pleased to welcome our newest tenant, and friends, at Fletcher Tilton to Mercantile Center,” Norton said in the press release. “A move of this kind, after 40+ years at their previous location, is quite significant. The firm employs over 118 attorneys and team members which will significantly contribute to the workforce here in Downtown Worcester. We know they will enjoy all that Mercantile Center and the Downtown has to offer.”
The firm has been leasing approximately 30,000 square-feet of office space in the Guaranty Building at 370 Main St. in Worcester. Executive Director Michael Sweeney said when the firm’s lease was up at its long-time home, Fletcher Tilton looked at multiple bids for new space and felt that the Mercantile Center was the right fit.
The firm has been embracing a hybrid model of working for its employees, said Sweeney, and by taking on less space, it can reallocate resources to other areas, like employee healthcare benefits.
Sweeney emphasized the company’s commitment to being headquartered in Worcester.
“We at Fletcher Tilton have known and worked with Chip Norton for an extensive period of time. As a peer, and friend, we are thrilled to join him and the Mercantile Center properties that offer so much to our employees and visiting clients,” Fletcher Tilton Director Mark Donahue said in the press release.
Kelleher & Sadowsky Associates principals Will Kelleher and James Umphrey represented FRA and Fletcher Tilton respectively in the transaction.
Franklin Realty Advisors is based in Wellesley and has acquired or developed more than $200 million in Central Massachusetts projects including the Mercantile Center, Worcester Business Center, and One and Two Chestnut Streets in Worcester, as well as the Southbridge Innovation Center.
By Timothy Doyle