The Baltimore Sun to Move 300 Employees to Its Port Covington Building

| January 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

In 1988, The Baltimore Sun built Sun Park in Port Covington for its printing facility. Now in 2018, the newspaper is finalizing a deal to move most of its operation to the South Baltimore facility. The Baltimore Sun Media Group announced last Thursday that it is looking to move its approximately 300 employees to a renovated space at Sun Park this summer. Employees who work in areas such as journalism, sales, circulation, finance, human resources, and marketing will join the printing team in Port Covington.

The Sun Park property is now owned by Sagamore Development, which purchased the land from Tribune Media in 2014 for $46.5 million. The Baltimore Sun Media Group has a “long-term lease” on the property.

The Baltimore Sun Media Group was formerly part of Tribune Co., which separated its television properties and real estate to Tribune Media in 2014, and its newspaper properties, including The Baltimore Sun Media Group, to Tribune Publishing (now called Tronc).

The Sun Park property includes The Baltimore Sun’s large building and two large parking lots south of the building. Sagamore Development is planning a reconfiguration of the 60-acre property to relocate the parking. It will also be creating a new street, “Purple St.,” to provide access to The Baltimore Sun building and new parking lots which are planned west of the building. Purple St. will be a northern continuation of Insulator Dr. at a newly-built intersection at Cromwell St.  The design of the intersection rebuild started last August and is expected to be submitted to Baltimore City for approval by February.

Sagamore Development has planned a 235-acre redevelopment of Port Covington that includes the Sun Park property. The site of the current parking lots for The Baltimore Sun and land east of The Baltimore Sun building are part of Sagamore Development’s Chapter 1 of infrastructure improvements at Port Covington. Construction is expected to begin on this infrastructure in 2018. New streets will initially be named Blue Street, Grape Street, Magenta Street, Red Street, and White Street. Eight intersections with traffic and pedestrian signals are planned. A new block created from the infrastructure work will be the future home of a public plaza. The new infrastructure will pave the way for vertical development and new public spaces at Port Covington.

“We’re excited at the prospect of welcoming another tenant and continuing the on-going progress at Port Covington,” said Sagamore Development President Marc Weller in a statement. “Having the Baltimore Sun, an iconic presence in Baltimore since the 1800s – and most of its employees – come to Port Covington speaks to the excitement around the development and its momentum.”

Trif Alatzas, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Baltimore Sun, said the following in a memo to employees on Thursday:

“After careful consideration, we are looking to relocate to Sun Park. While this option is still being finalized, we are excited about what this opportunity can bring,” Alatzas said. “By renovating the building, we will be able to have most of our employees under one roof. A new formatted space will allow us to evolve into a next-generation news organization with a state-of-the-art newsroom, and it will provide flexible work stations to accommodate a more nimble sales structure.”

The Baltimore Sun Media Group’s current Downtown properties at 401 and 501 N. Calvert St. were sold to Atapco Properties in May. Atapco is planning a redevelopment of the properties. The Baltimore Sun Media Group’s lease expires in June.

The Baltimore Sun Media Group Director of Marketing Renee Mutchnik told SouthBMore.com that conversations had been ongoing for a while about a move and that they looked into the opportunity of staying at the site Downtown. “We are excited about this opportunity and look forward to finalizing the agreement,” said Mutchnik.

The Baltimore Sun Media Group also has offices in Annapolis to publish The Capital and The Maryland Gazette, and offices in Westminster to publish The Carroll County Times.

Sagamore Development’s plan for Port Covington includes Under Armour’s 50-acre, 3.9 million sq. ft. global headquarters at the former Port Covington Shopping Center; 1,500,000 sq. ft. of destination, attraction, entertainment, and specialty retail; 500,000 sq. ft. of “maker” and industrial/light manufacturing space; 200-plus hotel rooms; 1,500,000 sq. ft. of office space (in addition to the Under Armour Global Headquarters); and civic and cultural uses including 40-plus acres of public parks, a public waterfront, and other public facilities. It also includes more than 7,500 residential units, which could total up to 14,000 units comprised of rental and for-sale properties at various price-points, and potential sites for a post office, school, library, fire station, police paddock, and cultural center. The development includes 2.5 miles of waterfront along the Middle Branch.

Already completed at Port Covington is City Garage, a 133,000 sq. ft. former garage facility which is fully leased and described as “a hub for manufacturing, innovation and entrepreneurship;” Building 37, which converted the former Sam’s Club into a 170,000 sq. ft. Under Armour office building and amenity space; 240 W. Dickman St., which is undergoing renovations and will be the home of workforce development non-profits, including CityWide Youth Development and Potential ME; and, the four-building Sagamore Spirit whiskey distilleryPhase I of Under Armour’s new 50-acre campus is expected to be the next major construction project in Port Covington. 

Other public space improvements including landscaping, a new mural, and on-street bicycle lanes have also been completed. Construction is also currently underway on a bike path.

For transportation and infrastructure, Sagamore is planning a light rail spur along McComas St. from Westport with three new stops; redevelopment of Hanover St., McComas St., and Cromwell St.; I-95 on-ramp and off-ramp modifications; bike share stations; three water taxi stops; and a site circulator that could be rail or bus. New on-street cycle lanes have already been installed in Port Covington.

Sagamore is also planning a walking/cycling bridge from the 1900 block of Light St. that would go over the CSX train track and under the I-95 bridges and land near The Baltimore Sun’s building. This is not planned in Chapter 1 of infrastructure improvements.

Sagamore recently partnered with Goldman Sachs’ Urban Investment Group on a $233-million investment in the project. Sagamore also submitted a proposal with support from City and State leaders for Amazon’s proposed second headquarters (HQ2).

 

Current site from Google Maps

From a rendering in Sagamore Development Company’s RFQ (click to enlarge)

About the Author:

Creator of SouthBmore.com and resident of SoBo. Graduate of Towson University and owner of Incept Multimedia, a full service video production company. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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