Baltimore Sun building is sold to local firm

The Calvert Street property leased by The Baltimore Sun and a neighboring parking garage have been sold to the Baltimore-based real estate investment and management firm Atapco Properties.

The deal has been in the works for months, as the Chicago-based Tribune Media, which owned the buildings, sought to sell off its real estate properties. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.


"We're just excited," said Kevin McAndrews, president of Atapco. "We have long roots in Baltimore like The Sun does. We're excited to take on the challenge of transforming an old building into something that's good for everybody in the city."

Tribune spun off The Sun and its other newspapers in 2014 but kept their real estate. The company sold the Port Covington building that houses The Sun's printing presses later that year to Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank's Sagamore Development for $46.5 million, though The Sun has a long-term lease on the building.


The Sun also has a lease until June 2018 on the Calvert Street property where its news and administrative offices are located. The newspaper also has an option to extend the lease.

In a statement, Renee Mutchnik, a spokeswoman for The Sun, confirmed the lease transfers to the new owners.

"We currently are exploring leasing options for the future," she said.

The deal between Tribune and Atapco closed May 22. McAndrews declined to disclose the sale price and said Atapco still was developing plans for the property. But he said there was a lot of potential given the location just north of downtown at what he called the "gateway to Mount Vernon."

Company officials noted the buildings, headquarters for The Sun since 1950, are surrounded by Mercy Medical Center, the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, Center Stage theatre and several new residential buildings. They are visible from the Johns Falls Expressway.

McAndrews said the buildings — at 401, 501 and 601 N. Calvert Street — will be renovated and additional space could be added in a parking lot on the property. The company might add retail or even hospitality or residential uses.

The Evening Sun


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The two-block property encompasses more than 435,000 square feet on 51/2 acres. Much of the space is unoccupied, including a cavernous area that once housed the newspaper printing presses. The engineering firm RK&K, which leases offices in the garage building, has already said it would move to a building in the Inner Harbor in August.

"This is a tremendous, iconic Baltimore asset that is attractive to us given the scale afforded by the existing office building and parking garage as well as significant additional development capacity," said Brian Conklin, director of acquisitions for Atapco, in a statement.


Atapco was founded in the city in 1910 by Louis Blaustein and his son as an oil company. The firm entered real estate in 1961 with the purchase of a building in the downtown business district that would bear the family name and become the company headquarters, according to the company's online history. The 30-story structure was credited with helping spark a downtown renaissance.

The headquarters remains in the city and the company's portfolio now includes industrial, retail and residential buildings across Maryland and in several other states.

A spokesman for Tribune Media did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

An earlier deal for The Sun building at 501 N. Calvert St. and the garage fell through last year when the lead bidder, developer Mark Sapperstein, backed away citing other obligations.