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Penguin Random House leases 1 million square-foot space in Hampstead, former Dart Container building

Penguin Random House is expanding to Hampstead, where a more than 1 million-square-foot building will largely serve as a distribution center for books, nearly doubling the amount of real estate the company has in Carroll County.

The multi-year lease of the former Dart Container Corporation building at 630 Hanover Pike adds to Penguin Random House’s existing facilities, the closest of which is in Westminster.

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“We will use it largely as a complementary distribution center with our Westminster buildings,” said Stuart Applebaum, a company spokesperson.

He anticipates it will be some time before the facility is operational. There is no precise timeline currently.

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“We’re really in the very early stages of taking occupancy of this building and it will over time serve multi-purposes for us,” Applebaum said, such as distribution and shipping.

In Westminster, about 1.5 million square feet serve 1,150 employees, though some of the office employees have been working from home during the pandemic, according to Robin Sutton, vice president of human resources.

Sutton could not speak to how many jobs the Hampstead facility will create, but anticipates the team will start small and grow over time.

Hampstead Mayor Chris Nevin is hopeful the business will bring more jobs to the community.

“I think it is a positive,” he said in an interview. “We look forward to having them as a Hampstead business resident.”

Annette Danek, executive vice president of supply chain, said in an internal communication to employees that every inch of the space across the company’s four facilities is dedicated to the books and authors. Penguin Random House also has locations in Reno, Nevada, and Crawfordsville, Indiana.

“Speaking personally as an avid reader of our books, I am energized by how this new operation center with its additional space will enable us to be more agile and responsive to the marketplace while we advance efficiencies and innovation throughout our workplaces,” Danek is quoted as saying.

The real estate broker, Lee & Associates | Maryland, said in a news release the Hampstead facility was originally built as a distribution warehouse for Sweetheart Cup, which later became Solo Cup. The building rests on about 51 acres of land and features 32-foot clear ceiling heights, 85 dock doors and two ramped drive-in doors.

Dart Container Corporation, the Michigan-based manufacturer of foam and plastic containers and cutlery, announced its departure from the facility last year and planned to relocate to Delaware. Maryland’s ban on foam containers, which goes into effect Oct. 1, 2020, played a role in the company’s decision to close its two Maryland locations, a company spokesperson said last August.

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