Baltimore Sun Media Group planning move to Port Covington

The Baltimore Sun Media Group is in negotiations to move from its longtime headquarters on North Calvert Street to its printing plant in Port Covington.

The company expects to move newsroom and business operations for The Baltimore Sun and several community newspapers to renovated space in its printing plant building on Cromwell Street this summer. About 300 employees are based in the Calvert Street building.

The move was announced Thursday in a memo to staff from Trif Alatzas, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Baltimore Sun.

“After careful consideration, we are looking to relocate to Sun Park. While this option is still being finalized, we are excited about what this opportunity can bring,” Alatzas said. “By renovating the building, we will be able to have most of our employees under one roof. A new formatted space will allow us to evolve into a next-generation news organization with a state-of-the-art newsroom, and it will provide flexible work stations to accommodate a more nimble sales structure.”

The printing plant property is owned by Sagamore Development, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank’s private development firm. The Baltimore Sun Media Group has a long-term lease on the property.

“We’re excited at the prospect of welcoming another tenant and continuing the ongoing progress at Port Covington,” said Marc Weller, president of Sagamore Development. “Having the Baltimore Sun, an iconic presence in Baltimore since the 1800s — and most of its employees — come to Port Covington speaks to the excitement around the development and its momentum.”

The Sun Media Group also has offices in Annapolis to publish The Capital and The Maryland Gazette and in Westminster for The Carroll County Times.

When Tribune Co. separated its television business from its newspaper properties in 2014, it gave the newspapers’ real estate, including the Sun’s offices and printing plant, to Tribune Media, the television business, which leased them back to Tribune Publishing, now called tronc.

The Baltimore Sun’s lease at its Calvert Street headquarters expires in June.

The two buildings at 401 and 501 N. Calvert and a parking garage with additional office space at 601 N. Calvert were sold by Tribune Media to Atapco Properties in May.

Atapco did not respond to a request for comment late Thursday.

The two-block property encompasses more than 435,000 square feet across 5 ½ acres and has served as The Sun’s headquarters since 1950.

The site — which formerly housed a Pennsylvania Railroad station and, in the 18th Century, a cow pasture — appealed to The Sun because its location on the edge of downtown would keep daily newsprint deliveries from being hauled down the city’s busiest streets, according to a biographical history the paper published in 1962.

The move will bring the newspaper and its printing presses under the same roof for the first time since 1993, when The Sun moved the last of its presses to Port Covington.

Tribune Media sold the Cromwell Street printing plant to Sagamore in 2014 for $46.5 million.

Sagamore’s $5.5 billion plan for redeveloping Port Covington calls for building millions of square feet of residential, office and retail space there over several decades, as well as a new campus for Under Armour. Renderings for the site depict towers, parks and a riverfront esplanade.

Baltimore Sun research librarian Paul McCardell contributed to this article.

sarah.gantz@baltsun.com

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