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The team from Spartan Surfaces gathers for a photo in from of their new home, the former Aegis building on Hays Street in Bel Air during a groundbreaking ceremony Friday.
The team from Spartan Surfaces gathers for a photo in from of their new home, the former Aegis building on Hays Street in Bel Air during a groundbreaking ceremony Friday. (courtesy Spartan Surfaces / Baltimore Sun)

Demolition of much of the interior of The Aegis' former home at 10 Hays St. in Bel Air has started as the new owner, Forest Hill-based Spartan Surfaces, oversees renovation of the facility that will become the flooring company's new corporate headquarters.

Spartan Surfaces officials gathered Friday with representatives of its general contractor, J. Vinton Schafer, of Abingdon, design firm Frederick Ward Associates, of Bel Air, Town of Bel Air officials and Harford County Executive Barry Glassman to kick off the start of demolition, according to Wayne Carter, the company's general manager.

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"It was more of a documentation of the beginning of the process," Carter said Monday.

He said participants took about 15 photos of the interior to compare its present state to what the building will look like when the renovation is complete.

Carter said the demolition is expected to last "a couple of weeks," and then the 24-person corporate office should be able to move in by the end of the year.

He said most of the interior walls will be demolished.

"There are going to definitely be some changes in the internal flow," Carter said.

Plans call for using the 50,101 square feet of available building space for offices and storage, according to Carter.

He said 14,635 square feet will be used for offices, and 35,466 for storage, based on Frederick Ward Associates' designs.

"We need a lot of warehouse space, because in our current space we're just jammed full," Carter said.

Spartan Surfaces is a consulting company that works with suppliers of commercial flooring products and their customers, and it coordinates with designers of those products.

The corporate offices are in a 20,000-square-foot building in the Forest Hill Industrial Airpark, and the company has sales territories in Maryland, Washington, D.C., Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Chicago.

"We know there is the possibility for growth, and we know that the building can support it if we do grow," Carter said of the much-larger building on Hays Street.

He said the former Aegis building, which was the home of the Harford County newspaper from 1962 to 2011, will only be used for the corporate office and meetings with flooring product suppliers.

"There will be no sales, no showroom, no display area, no customers at this building," Carter said.

He said sales representatives who work in nearby territories can use the building for part-time work, and the company will be able to use it to host meetings of the entire sales force, as well as training sessions.

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The Hays Street building was built in 1962 and expanded in 1986 and 2000. It has been vacant since March 2001, when the advertising and editorial functions of The Aegis moved to 139 N. Main St. in Bel Air. The building's printing plant closed in November 2010, when printing operations moved to Sun Park in Baltimore. The building and 2.1 acre site were put on the market in 2011.

Spartan acquired the property for $1,975,000 on April 20, according to state property tax records.

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