Johns Hopkins University buys Stieff Silver complex for $17.55 million

The Johns Hopkins University has acquired the Stieff Silver complex, a former silver factory near its Homewood campus, for $17.55 million.

The university has leased space in the former silver factory for its Whiting School of Engineering since 2002. The deal, which closed Oct. 31, gives Hopkins more flexibility to invest in the 1.2-acre property as an owner, rather than a tenant.

“The Whiting School is proud that a site so important to Baltimore’s history is now a part of our own,” T.E. “Ed” Schlesinger, dean of the engineering school, said in a statement.

The seller was KS Wyman Park Development Co.

Located on Wyman Park Drive along Falls Road, the building and its sign are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The two-story complex was built in two stages in 1925 and 1929, and housed Charles C. Stieff’s silver company until it closed in 1999.

When silver was rationed during World War II, Stieff Silver shifted its focus to electronics, radar parts and surgical instruments, but later returned to making silver and pewter goods, including the silver trophies awarded to Preakness winners.

The engineering school is based on Hopkins’ nearby Homewood campus, but has labs and research facilities in a newer addition to the Stieff Silver building, added in 1971.

The engineering school will expand its presence in the building, moving two support programs to Stieff Silver. At the same time, Hopkins is exploring new uses for the space not occupied by the engineering school.

sarah.gantz@baltsun.com

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