It’s another end of an era in Williamsburg.
Vice is vacating its headquarters on Kent Avenue, near the waterfront that has become a symbol of the neighborhood’s rapid gentrification and accumulating cultural capital.
Wow. 'Move fast and break things' indeed, in this case, a neighborhood!
— Denise K., Xennial (@dennerdenner) August 24, 2023
The media company, once seen as the future of renegade journalism and a magnet for millennials tired of legacy news organizations, filed for bankruptcy in May, after a yearslong slide into irrelevance driven by high-profile #MeToo accusations and an increasingly unprofitable business model.
The company plans to find a new home somewhere in New York, but it will have employees work remotely for now, Bloomberg has reported.
“The office has a larger-than-life place in the minds of many of us,” executives said in an email to staff. “But in recent years, it’s become increasingly unsuited to the needs of our evolving business.” The memo added that “the New York real estate market affords us many opportunities to work more effectively in a space better suited to foster the collaborative creative energy that drives our operations.”
When Vice moved into its converted warehouse space in 2015, it was at the peak of its powers. It had a cable TV channel helmed by Spike Jonze, a primetime show on HBO that showcased its cutting-edge international reporting, multiple other online verticals, and a unique place in the media industry as an outsider voice that won mainstream awards and acclaim.
The company also displaced a pair of beloved indie rock venues — Death By Audio and Glasslands. Fans “accused the company of violating the very spirit of hipness and authenticity that it had seemingly built its brand upon,” read a New York Times article from 2015.
9 years ago today we played our last NYC show, at Glasslands on Kent Ave in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Then Vice bought out the whole block and turned it into their HQ.
Vice went bankrupt. At least we ended things on our own terms. pic.twitter.com/FEUS5hwOKo
— PR3TTY_&_N1C3 (@PRETTYandNICE) August 14, 2023
Since then, Vice leaned heavily on the power of social media algorithms and made risky bets with its ambitious projects. Its bankruptcy filings showed $834 million in overall debt.
The company had previously planned on moving to a space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, but those plans appear to be on the shelf.