Baltimore officials on Wednesday approved an agreement enabling a city police district to move its employees into a building that once housed the Baltimore Sun newspaper.
The Board of Estimates approved the three-year, multimillion dollar lease agreement with Atapco properties allowing the Baltimore Police Department to relocate its Central District to the downtown space.
The Central District’s previous building was shut down for emergency repairs in December 2018 and more than 150 employees have since worked out of the department’s crowded headquarters, The Baltimore Sun reported.
The Sun relocated its newsroom in the summer of 2018, and the building where it once operated will now need to undergo renovations before it will be fit for use by the department and other public safety units moving in, officials said.
An exact cost was not given for the repairs, but Baltimore Comptroller Joan Pratt voted against the move citing the costs. Atapco Properties was set to charge between $1.7 million and $2.6 million annually in rent, according to The Sun.
Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young has supported the move, instead citing figures that show it could actually save the city more than $800,000 in deferred maintenance costs over the next four years, news outlets reported.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said the move was necessary to keep the district operating, calling the former offices “deteriorating.”
“If we expect professionalism from our officers, we owe them no less than a professional work environment in return,” The Sun quoted Harrison as saying.