By Steve Kilar
The Baltimore Sun
5:11 PM EST, November 7, 2012
The commercial real estate firm CBRE is hosting an event Thursday at The Baltimore Sun’s offices on North Calvert Street for brokers to get a feel for unused space in the building, according to the news company’s head of operations.
The Sun, and other divisions of The Tribune Co., have been working with CBRE for several months to promote leasable space in buildings that have become too large for the news businesses they house, said Stephen Seidl, the Sun’s senior vice president for operations and technology.
“All of us used a lot more space in the past than we currently use. It’s just the nature of the news industry,” Seidl said Wednesday. “It just makes sense to market that space.”
The Sun is not new to leasing space. The company has for years rented offices below its parking structure to construction and engineering firm RK&K.
For nearly eight months this year, Netflix leased a portion of the Sun’s second-floor newsroom. The movie rental company used the space to create a newsroom set for a T.V. show it is producing.
About two dozen brokers are expected to preview the North Calvert Street property Thursday.
“Tribune is not mandating we lease the space,” Seidl said. Tribune Co. is expected to emerge from bankruptcy in the next few months and the ownership of its properties will likely be transferred to two investment groups and JP Morgan Chase bank.
The Sun is focused on filling the largely vacant fifth and sixth floors of its Mount Vernon building, he said. There’s also talk of leasing the fourth floor and moving Sun departments there to lower floors, said Gail Chrzan, a first vice president with CBRE in Baltimore.
“We’re trying to market to everyone because we have the ability to be flexible,” Chrzan said. A tenant could take up as little as 3,000 square feet or as much as several floors, she said. Parking could be made available in the Sun’s garage for new tenants, Seidl said.
The sixth floor is currently empty. It is roughly 26,000 square feet and includes an executive suite of offices and conference rooms. “It has space that someone could walk into and use immediately,” Chrzan said of the building’s top floor.
The fifth floor contains about 30,000 square feet. It now houses the Sun’s data center and some technology services. The fourth floor is the largest floor available — about 35,000 square feet — and accommodates Sun departments including circulation, finance and marketing.
The cavernous former press bay that occupies the building’s lower levels is also on the market. It could be used for industrial storage space, Seidl said.
And green space on either side of the Sun’s Westport printing plant, which can be seen from Interstate 95, is also being analyzed for potential sale or lease, he said. One parcel is about 16 acres; the other is roughly 14.
Chrzan said CBRE’s first goal is to put the North Calvert Street space to use. Seidl said if someone makes an offer to buy the Sun’s North Calvert Street building, the company will entertain the idea. But, he added, “that’s not the way we’re trying to market it.”
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