Struever to buy Stieff plant; Developer would turn Hampden building into office space; Commercial real estate


Baltimore developer Struever Bros., Eccles & Rouse Inc. intends to purchase the former Kirk-Stieff silver-making plant in Baltimore and renovate it into office space, primarily for high-technology companies, local economic development officials said yesterday.

The 80,000-square-foot building is the former home of Kirk-Stieff.

Kirk-Stieff was the product of a 1979 merger of Samuel Kirk & Sons, founded in 1815, and the Stieff Co., started in 1892 by Charles C. Stieff. Both were Baltimore companies.

In 1990, Kirk-Stieff was acquired by Lenox Inc., a unit of Brown-Forman Corp., based in Louisville, Ky. In October of last year, Lenox announced that it was closing the company's landmark Hampden plant. Operations were consolidated in Smithfield, R.I., this year.

The building has been vacant since then, said M. J. "Jay" Brodie, president of the Baltimore Development Corp. "We've encouraged several people to look at it," he said.

The Struever Bros. plan to create more office space for technology companies is welcomed, Brodie said.

"There's an unlimited potential for tech-based firms in Baltimore," he said. "It's somewhat like the chicken and the egg. We have to have a few tech firms here before we can get more firms."

Struever Bros. officials were not available for comment yesterday.

The developer settled a deal recently with one of the region's fastest-growing Internet companies,, to become the first tenant at the former Procter & Gamble plant in Locust Point, another project the developer is turning into office space for high-technology companies.

Struever Bros. acquired the 70-year-old plant in April and is working to convert it into a $53 million complex. The plant has been vacant since September 1995. It will contain 400,000 square feet of space.

The developer also renovated the old American Can Co. complex in Canton.

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