Police consider relocating to Sun building

July 03, 1991|By Ann LoLordo

The city government has added The Baltimore Sun's Calvert Street building and parking garage to a list of possible sites to relocate the Police Department and its 1,800 employees, officials said yesterday.

City real estate agent John J. Hentschel Jr. and Deputy Police Commissioner Michael Zotos toured The Sun's six-story building yesterday at the invitation of company officials, who described the walk-through as a "informal fact-finding mission."

Mr. Hentschel cautioned that the city has reviewed several sites in the past -- including the old Hecht Co. store at Howard and Lexington streets and the former Montgomery Ward distribution center on Monroe Street -- and received at least two dozen responses to a public request issued in February for 296,000 to 433,000 square feet of office space.

James D. Shaw, a senior vice president and business manager for The Sun, said the company did not submit a proposal in response to the city's advertisement nor has the company hired a real estate broker.

"We are not aggressively shopping the property at all," said Mr. Shaw. "We are not officially on the market."

City officials, however, have been shopping for a new site for the Police Department since January 1988, when they announced that the headquarters building on East Fayette Street had to be vacated to remove potentially hazardous asbestos materials and install a new heating and ventilation system. Officials said then that the 18-year-old building, which has about 296,000 square feet of space, would be vacated by the end of 1988.

Yesterday, city public works director George G. Balog, who sits on the city panel that is reviewing prospective sites, said the need to move police out of the building is not critical because "the environment in the building has been improved greatly" with the installation of new air-conditioning equipment. He said city officials are exploring "several options," including an addition to the Police Department.

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