Mercury Newspaper Still Publishes; Office Closing

POTTSTOWN PA – Staff members of the venerable Pottstown Mercury newspaper on Friday (June 1, 2018) were given 30 days to leave their building at 24 N. Hanover St., according to employee posts on Facebook. The paper will continue to publish, they were told, but by the start of July they’ll no longer have an office in the borough from which to work.

The Mercury is a legal publication of record for the borough of Pottstown, Lower Pottsgrove and Limerick townships, and the Pottstown,  Pottsgrove, and Spring-Ford Area school districts.

“We were informed at a meeting today that The Mercury building will be closed permanently in 30 days,” one of the posts said. The paper’s decimated reporting staff has been given the choice of working from their homes, or at an industrial facility 17 miles south in Exton PA where the paper is printed.

The newspaper’s management did not issue any public statement or response on the employee revelations.

The 12,000-square-foot building, the exterior of which in years past has been cited as one of several outstanding examples of historic architecture readily found in Pottstown, has been a fixture on the corner of North Hanover and King streets for decades. It has survived several changes in ownership, most recently during 2013, when the real estate was bought by a company called 24 N Hanover Street LLC in 2013 for $1.19 million, according to Montgomery County property records.

The limited liability company’s address is The Lipstick Building in New York City, which coincidentally also is home to Alden Global Capital. It’s a New York-based hedge fund that owns The Mercury’s corporate parent, Digital First Media. Alden Global has been the subject of a recent spate of unflattering news stories about what is described as its dismantling of local newspaper companies to increase their profitability for the investors’ benefit.

The building has been renovated several times, but has developed what some workers called extensive roof leaks. Its owners “will spend $80,000 to fix leaking roof, then send us all away,” according to the employee posts. No plans have yet been announced to find a tenant or new owner for what is presumed to be the future vacant building.

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