Public Works to use old Capital building

Chase Cook
It isn't as exciting as vampires, but the old Capital building has a new job.

It isn't as exciting as being the set for a vampire movie, but it looks like the old Capital building has a new job.

The Capital's previous headquarters off West Street will serve as a temporary location for Annapolis Public Works employees, with the city signing a one-year lease with Landmark Media Enterprises to use 5,000 square feet of the building.

Public Works Director David Jarrell said the department's Utilities Division — about 20 employees from the old Annapolis barracks off Rowe Boulevard — will use the facility. Those employees were displaced after state officials made moves to reopen the barracks.

It isn't a permanent home, but it was attractive for the department's needs, Jarrell said.

"It was available," Jarrell said. "It met our needs. We have a lot of parking requirements."

The one-year lease comes with a monthly rent of $4,500 and will require the department to pay its own utility bills. The entire monthly payments will average about $6,000, almost double the previous $3,500 paid at the Annapolis barracks, Jarrell said.

Since the state asked the department to move, they are paying rent until June, he said.

Public Works employees had been displaced after Gov. Larry Hogan made a pledge to reopen the old barracks for Maryland State Police.

The move hit a snag when the legislature cut the money to be used for other departments. Since that funding wasn't available, the Maryland State Police were put on the hook for about $500,000.

This use of the building is a little less exciting than its previous lease for an indie horror-comedy, "The Night Watchmen." The plot revolved around three hapless security guards forced into fighting vampires after-hours at a weekly tabloid newspaper.

The newspaper staff moved from their old headquarters after the company was purchased by The Baltimore Sun Media Group from Landmark Media Enterprises. The building was not included in that sale.

The city's portion of the old building is a small slice of the 80,000 square feet. There are discussions about using more of the building to house the entire Public Works Department, but that still would only take up 30,000 square feet, Jarrell said.

For now, they will take the one-year lease as they look for a permanent location for the Utilities Division, he said.

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