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A rendering of potential changes at The Baltimore Sun building complex on North Calvert Street
A rendering of potential changes at The Baltimore Sun building complex on North Calvert Street (Atapco Properties)

The owners of The Baltimore Sun's Calvert Street building complex are seeking to turn it into a mixed-use development with office, retail and potentially a grocery store.

Atapco Properties President Kevin McAndrews said Thursday that plans were still in flux but that he hoped to have "something definitive to say" about the buildings' future by the end of the year. The Baltimore-based real estate investment and management firm bought the 1950s-era headquarters building and an adjoining parking garage in May.

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"We're having a lot of conversations, there's a lot of interest, but we're months away from any kind of design discussions with the city or making any kind of an announcement on any definitive uses," McAndrews said.

The Sun, which also maintained a printing plant at the Calvert Street site until the 1980s, has a lease on the building through June 2018.

Renee Mutchnik, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, said the company is "actively considering our options" for the company's future space. She did not comment further.

McAndrews said that the company had meetings with potential clients about the building over the last two weeks but that the "main goal" was to do an office and retail project. He did not rule out some residential use but said "we're probably not going to do an apartment building." A hotel is also "one of many possibilities."

A rendering of the buildings on the website of KLNB Retail, the property's leasing brokers, shows a potential 47,000-square-foot grocery store with a cafe, performance space and a restaurant. McAndrews said the company had different renderings made to show to different interested parties.

Atapco Properties paid about $15.5 million in May for the Sun's buildings, which include 401, 501 and 601 N. Calvert St. McAndrews said the redevelopment would likely include an additional parking garage, depending on what the complex ended up being used for.

Much of the space in the the 435,000-square-feet, 5½-acre property is unoccupied.

Chicago-based Tribune Media, which owned The Sun's buildings, sold the Port Covington building that houses The Sun's printing presses in 2014 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. Tribune spun off The Sun and its other newspapers in 2014 but kept their real estate.

The set of documents put together by KLNB Retail highlights the lack of grocery stores in the downtown area, as well as the influx of new residents in recent years.

"There's a consensus in the neighborhood and the city at large that there's a lack of grocery stores" downtown, McAndrews said. "We definitely think it would be a good amenity for the neighborhood and the project."

As to whether the company would incorporate an homage to The Sun or newspapers in the design, McAndrews said that would "depend on The Sun."

"The building is well known, The Sun's an iconic institution," McAndrews said. "We respect that, but how it plays into the design will be impacted by a lot of things."

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