The Baltimore Sun Co. said yesterday that it will branch out of the news business with the creation of a new company, Baltimore Sun Apartment Search LLC.
The company will open the first two of seven leased stores March 1 in Towson and Parkville, where rental consultants will offer free services to match renters with apartments in the area.
The other five stores will open by early 1997 in shopping centers and other locations in Howard, Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties.
The venture, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Baltimore Sun, will use the management expertise and computer and sales programming of Apartment Search Inc., the nation's largest apartment locater service.
"We want to be the No. 1 provider of information about the rental market and give complete and unbeatable service to our customers -- both renters and property owners," said Mary Junck, publisher and chief executive officer of The Baltimore Sun. "This new venture really moves us toward our goal of being the information source for renters and rental property owners and managers."
Baltimore Sun Apartment Search will provide information on cost, amenities, floor plans and lease terms for more than 90,000 apartments. Up to 125,000 are expected to be listed.
The company will arrange meetings with rental agents and, if a renter signs a lease, the rental property owner will pay Baltimore Sun Apartment Search a portion of the first month's rent.
Already, The Baltimore Sun operates Rental Solution, a service to boost market visibility for apartment owners who advertise in the newspaper.
Baltimore Sun Apartment Search is the third recent venture for The Baltimore Sun. The others include an Internet division and acquisition of two monthly publications, Maryland Family and Fifty Plus.