Girl Scouts to buy Baltimore building Headquarters purchase keeps group in city; Nonprofits


After a two-year search for a new headquarters site in the region, Girl Scouts of Central Maryland Inc. said yesterday that it will stay in Baltimore and will buy, rather than lease, a building.

The nonprofit organization will pay $550,000 to buy a vacant 13,000-square-foot building from American National Savings Bank in the Seton Business Park, off Northern Parkway near Liberty Road, said Lisa Cid, the organization's executive director. The bank took over the building in a receivership action late last year.

The Girl Scouts plans to spend $1.3 million to renovate the two-story structure, which is about 10 years old, and add 5,000 square feet of space.

That addition will include a first-floor meeting room where the organization plans to hold training courses for its 6,000 volunteers, said Ms. Cid.

"We wanted to stay committed to the city of Baltimore," she said. "It took us a long time to find a suitable building with the right amount of space and the other qualities we needed, but now we have. It's an ideal location."

Aside from needing additional space for its growing training programs, the organization also wanted a building near major bus routes and major roads, and that offered free parking, said Ms. Cid.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke said yesterday that the city is pleased that the Girl Scouts decided to stay in the city. "I am pleased we have been able to assist them with their growth and expansion needs," he said.

Baltimore Development Corp., the city's quasi-public economic development arm that manages the business park, helped the Girl Scouts find a site and choose an appropriate building, said Joann Logan, a BDC spokeswoman.

Neither the city nor the BDC is assisting the organization with any financing of the building or its renovation costs, she said.

The Girl Scouts, which employs 50 people at its headquarters, will have nonprofit and corporate neighbors in the city-owned Seton Business Park, including the NAACP, the American Red Cross, Polk Audio and Chesapeake Biological Laboratories.

Ms. Cid said the 25,000-member organization plans to raise money for the purchase and renovation, and already has received corporate support from Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. and Hunt Valley-based PHH Corp.

Ms. Cid said the organization projects saving up to $50,000 annually by owning its headquarters. It pays about $100,000 annually to lease the building it has used for 15 years near the Rotunda Shopping Center in Roland Park.

Ms. Cid said the Girl Scouts will vacate its present headquarters at 730 West 40th St. at the end of April. Work on the new site is to be completed by June, she said.

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