Sports Legends Museum could leave as landlord seeks new tenant

The Maryland Stadium Authority is seeking "prospective tenants" to lease state-owned property now occupied by the Sports Legends Museum.

But a museum official said Wednesday he remains confident the museum will manage to complete a deal for a new lease and remain in the space adjacent to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The stadium authority has "put out a request for interest to see if there are any potential tenants who might come along," said Mike Gibbons, executive director of the Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation, which runs the Sports Legends and Babe Ruth birthplace museums. "It's part of business."

Gibbons said negotiations for a new lease are continuing with the authority.

"I think we are going to be there," he said. "We absolutely are the right fit for that space. I can't think of anything better."

Mike Frenz, executive director of the stadium authority, which acts as the landlord for the state-owned property, was unavailable for comment Wednesday night, an authority spokeswoman said.

The authority's solicitation, posted on its website, seeks "qualified Statements of Interest from interested parties to lease State owned property on the Camden Yards Complex in Baltimore City, known as the Camden Station."

It says bids must be received by Sept. 15.

The Sports Legends Museum includes exhibits of local interest featuring the Orioles and Ravens and Baltimore icons such as Cal Ripken Jr. and Johnny Unitas.

Gibbons said the museum signed a 20-year lease when it opened in 2005, but two years later the stadium authority voted to forgive $444,000 in back rent and to lower the museum's $28,000 monthly rent. The authority also reduced the museum's lease from 20 years to five years with options to renew.

At that time, attendance at the museum had fallen drastically short of projections. Officials blamed declining Orioles attendance, but, whatever the reason, the museum was consistently unable to pay its monthly rent.

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