ELLSWORTH — The Ellsworth American is gearing up for a planned renovation and expansion of its Printing House Square building located off Water Street.
The modernized facility will consolidate the newspaper’s operations under one roof. In anticipation of the move, The American’s other downtown location, a stately, three-story, brick building at 30 Water St., has been listed for sale.
The One Printing House Square building currently houses the newspaper’s press and mail rooms as well as the offices of its design, advertising and digital marketing departments.
The planned renovation will better maximize space, allowing for the relocation of the newsroom, administrative offices and customer service staff, who now work out of the Water Street building.
“The remodel will allow us to modernize our offices while making much more efficient use of our space,” said Kathy Cook, general manager of The Ellsworth American and its sister paper, the Mount Desert Islander. “The American’s success and longevity have a lot to do with our continued efforts to control costs and think creatively. We’re looking forward to this next phase of our 169-year history in the community.”
This is not the first time The American has revamped its space or relocated its staff.
The American knew many homes up until 1931, when the present site on Water Street, the former Clark & Davis building, was purchased.
In April 1971, then-owner and Publisher James Russell Wiggins purchased a building at 63 Main St. and moved the paper’s offices there. Production facilities remained on Water Street.
Wiggins purchased the neighboring Main Street building in 1988 and expanded the offices into both buildings.
In October 1995, Wiggins’ successor, Alan Baker, began construction of One Printing House Square. To prevent any interruption to production, the new building was framed around the existing press and mailroom building and the old structure was then demolished and removed.
In 1997, the building at 30 Water St. was renovated into office space. The work was completed in 1998. The Main Street buildings were sold the following year.
“The Water Street location is a beautiful, historic building that has served us well,” Cook said. “We will miss it, but given our needs at this time and how closely our staff works together, it makes more sense for us to be in one building.”
The design phase is just beginning for the renovation with work expected to begin this winter. The company’s printing press will remain operational throughout construction.
The 30 Water St. building has been listed with Sargent Real Estate.