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REAL ESTATE INSIDER

Atapco buys The Baltimore Sun’s Calvert Street property

The Baltimore Sun has called its Calvert Street office home since 1950. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

The Baltimore Sun has called its Calvert Street office home since 1950. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

Atapco Properties has purchased The Baltimore Sun’s headquarters on Calvert Street for an undisclosed price.

The company announced the acquisition on Wednesday. The property consists of a three-building office and garage on a total of 435,000 gross square feet of building area.

“This is a tremendous, iconic Baltimore asset that is attractive to us given the scale afforded by the existing office building and parking garage as well as significant additional development capacity,” Brian Conklin, director of acquisitions for Atapco Properties said in a statement.

Baltimore-based developer Atapco Properties is a subsidiary of American Trading and Production Corp., according to the firm’s website, which was formed in 1931 to diversify the Blaustein family’s business interests.

It’s unclear what the long-term future of the newspaper will be at the building it has called home since 1950. The Baltimore Sun’s history dates back to 1837, when it was founded by Arunah Shepherdson Abell, according to the newspaper’s website. The newspaper called four other properties home before moving to its current location.

“The Baltimore Sun has been leasing the building (from its corporate owner) since 2014 and our lease will be transferred to the new owners. This lease takes us through June 2018 with an option to renew. We currently are exploring leasing options for the future,” Renee Mutchnik, a spokeswoman for The Baltimore Sun, said in a statement.

Major metropolitan newspapers across the country have been selling their long-time home offices as they downsize and seek to weather the industry’s digital transformation that has sliced into their profitability.

The Calvert Street property has been on the market dating back to early 2016. A source with knowledge of the metro real estate market said the newspaper has been looking for about 40,000 square feet of office space to lease.

Atapco has not said what it intends to do with the building in the future. But city tax credits and millennials’ preference for urban living have led to many older office buildings near the city’s downtown being converted into apartment buildings.

In Atapco’s announcement that it had purchased the building the company touts the residential boom happening in the area in conjunction with the property’s location to cultural institutions, such as the Center Stage theater, and The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.

But the new owner also highlights the possibility of the property, with visibility from Interstate 83, being converted to a hotel or to retail or office space.

Do you have real estate news to share? Contact Adam Bednar at adam.bednar@thedailyrecord.com.


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