A member of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has urged the San Jose Mercury News to consider relocating its staff to the former San Jose City Hall site on First Street.
Supervisor Dave Cortese has recommended that the board at its meeting Tuesday direct county staff to detail what would have to happen should the newspaper agree to move to the 10-acre former City Hall property.
Cortese said he wrote a letter to Mercury News publisher Mac Tully last Tuesday to "gauge their interest" in either moving to office space in the 55-year-old building or constructing new office space there.
The old City Hall site, on First Street at West Mission Street, is next to the County Government Center and light rail stops and near the county Hall of Justice and the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport, Cortese said.
"It's a pretty convenient location for a media outlet, or more than one media outlet" Cortese said. It's an excellent location for them."
A move by the paper also would fit in with the county's effort to interest private developers in a master plan to include new office, retail and housing for its 55-acre civic center area that includes the old City Hall site, Cortese said.
"I think it would be a win-win to have them there," Cortese said.
The Mercury News announced April 15 that the paper's headquarters and 36-acre property at 750 Ridder Drive was up for sale.
The company said it intended to relocate its newspaper printing operations from San Jose to Concord and
Hayward and would search for new local office space for its editorial and other staff members.
Cortese said Tully responded favorably to him in an email but made no commitment.
"We plan to look at all of these opportunities as we get into our decision process," Tully wrote, according to Cortese.
Tully could not be reached, but the Mercury News announced this morning that he was resigning as publisher to become president and chief executive officer of The Denver Post, owned by Digital First Media, manager of the Mercury News' owner MediaNews Group.
Replacing Tully as Mercury News publisher is Steve Rossi, a regional vice president for Digital First Media.
The old City Hall structure, which has stood vacant since the city of San Jose moved to the new City Hall complex on Santa Clara Street in 2005, was completed in 1958.
County officials have said the building qualifies as a historical landmark and developers would have to propose a "historic reuse" of it with renovations that do not disrupt the building's historical features, Cortese said.