Category Archives: Business

Downtown Regal Becoming Arthouse Theater

The Downtown Regal is being seriously overhauled, Graelyn Brashear writes in C-Ville Weekly. It will no longer be a Regal, and its owner and her new business partner are going to add a restaurant and cocktails. The owner of Violet Crown Cinema in Austin (it gets 4 stars on Yelp) wants to make this the second location in what he hopes will become a nationwide chain of such places. Regal’s 15-year lease recently ran out, not long after they managed to drive Vinegar Hill out of business by moving to showing mostly independent films. The new facility is slated to open by November.

LexisNexis Building Sold

LexisNexis has sold their downtown Charlottesville building, the Daily Progress reports. A holding company bought the property for $9.3M. Lexis built the structure 22 years ago to replace their facility on Market Street (rechristened the Old Michie Building by Gabe Silverman). Lexis has slowly laid off hundreds of employees over the course of years, and they’re now down to just 175 people. They’re leasing back space in the building from the new owner, and claim that they have no plans to shut down the Charlottesville office.

Progress to Charge a Thanksgiving Premium

Rick Sincere shares some odd news from the Progress: the daily paper has informed subscribers that they’ll be charged more for the Thanksgiving edition of the paper. In an e-mail to subscribers, publisher Lawrence McConnell says that because “it is loaded with information you can use and valuable advertising” it is “one of the most expensive to produce and difficult to distribute,” so they “will charge a premium rate of $2.50 for the Thanksgiving Day newspaper.” Subscribers will find their subscription is somewhat shorter as a result of the unexpected charge. As Rick points out, the only thing that makes the Thanksgiving installment so hefty is that it’s stuffed full of a stunning amount of advertising circulars, advertisements that the Progress charges advertisers a handsome rate to include in the newspaper.

For reference, a Daily Progress subscription will run you $9.32/month for a Monday–Saturday subscription, or 35¢ per non-Sunday issue. (A 7-day subscription runs $17.40/month, meaning that each Sunday issue costs $2.02.)

The Hook to Fold

The Hook is being shut down by its parent company, in a decision that is disappointing, although surely not shocking. That leaves C-Ville Weekly, owned by the same company, as the city’s sole weekly. The final issue will be published on September 26.

The Hook debuted thirteen years ago, only three weeks after an acrimonious split between the three owners of C-Ville Weekly drove owner Hawes Spencer to start his own paper. Nine years later, the two publications’ owners decided to join up again, with time and experience having mellowed the former competitors. At the time of the merger, owner Bill Chapman denied plans to eliminate staffing redundancies. Finally, last December, Hook editor Hawes Spencer sold his shares and stepped down, with Courteney Stuart taking his place. (The first comment after that story was prescient: “Cue the Cville gutting the Hook in 2013 by summer if not sooner.”)

Both of the papers have maintained distinctly different identities. Post-split, The Hook quickly took on the role of news publication, while C-Ville Weekly focused more on the arts and soft news. In this way, they managed to enlarge the overall news market, so that both could have room to exist. When the two papers came under the same umbrella again two years ago, it was logical to keep both publications, since—anecdotally—each had their own fans and detractors, and presumably likewise differing bases of advertisers. If today’s news is any indicator, that simply proved not to be true. Or, at least, the benefits of maintaining two competing brands were outweighed by the cost and redundancies of maintaining two publications.

Questions remain. What will become of Hook staff: reporters, back-office staff, and ad sales? Will C-Ville Weekly expand its coverage to include the hard news that The Hook provided, or as a community will we simply lose that? When will C-Ville Weekly become a twice-weekly publication? And what of The Hook’s website? There are 12 years of vital, historically significant news coverage there, available to anybody using Google. The loss of that archive—like the once-deep web-based archives of The Cavalier Daily, WINA, and The Observer—would be terrible. What’s the plan to maintain that?

5:45 PM Update: In a statement, the company says that “several key members of The Hook’s team will remain,” that they’ll be moving publication from Monday to Wednesday, and touts that the combined circulation of 25,000 will give them the largest circulation in Charlottesville.