The Suncoast News will make a bit of news itself this weekend as the office relocates for the first time since 1985.
Staff members have packed boxes at 6214 U.S. 19 on the corner with Main Street. They are moving to 8609 Regency Park Blvd. in the Regency Crossing shopping center along Ridge Road. Phone numbers will not change.
Other than relocating the office, the Suncoast News will continue as a mainstay of the West Pasco and North Pinellas communities, according to its publisher Duane Chichester.
“No layoffs are associated with this move,” Chichester emphasized. “As a matter of fact, we are increasing our staff this month to better serve our advertising customers.”
In addition to the offices for its news and advertising personnel, The Suncoast News will operate a warehouse and distribution center just east of its current location.
With its roots dating back more than half a century, the Suncoast News remains an “established, well-read newspaper that readers along Florida’s Suncoast love,” Chichester said. The newspaper has a distribution of roughly 110,000.
Readers and advertisers will see no difference in their service, the publisher emphasized. “Our advertisers get results because the newspaper is well read and we are here to stay on Florida’s beautiful Suncoast,” Chichester said.
So why the move?
“We no longer need all the space” at the U.S. 19 location, Chichester said. “At one time we printed the newspaper here in New Port Richey,” until about seven years ago. The presses were dismantled in June 2007.
“When we decided to print our papers on our larger presses in Tampa, we reduced our print time and reduced our cost,” Chichester said. “We sold the small press and have no real need for all the space at the U.S. 19 location.”
So the move has been years in the making, Editor Michael Terry said. The depressed state of the commercial real estate market in Florida in recent years hampered efforts to find a buyer for the building.
Then came the October 2012 sale of The Suncoast News, Tampa Tribune and the other former Media General publications in Florida to Los Angeles-based investment firm Revolution Capital Group, which formed the Tampa Media Group. That transaction hastened the decision to move, since Media General still owns the building at 6214 U.S. 19.