Hopkins announced its purchase of the Dell House Apartments and the former Seaton High School this week in order to provide additional staff parking and office space.
"The reason we purchased this 2.3 acre property was that it is close to the Homewood campus and was available at the right price," said James T. McGill, University Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration.
The two buildings were owned by Sheppard Pratt Health Systems, which purchased them in 2000 for a combined $4 million. Their assessed value is now approximately $4.8 million, according to state land records.
The University has used funds from its investments to pay for the properties.
Dell House is a 16-story, 37-unit apartment building that is leased to both Hopkins students and the public. The former Seaton High School, a 67,000-square-foot office called Seaton Court, is leased to Argus Group Inc., a subsidiary of Automatic Data Processing Inc. The company deals with communications materials for health care industries and financial services.
Hopkins will also purchase a 170 space parking area behind Dell House, along with a private garage of 12 spaces.
"We are obligated to have parking space for the tenants and, at this time the employees in the private office buildings," McGill said. "The goal is to make the parking area gated, available for fill-over from the Homewood campus."
"The University has no plans to convert the apartments into campus housing at this time," said University spokesman Dennis O'Shea.
The rent prices will continue to be determined by "private management," McGill said. Current tenants will remain in their apartments until their leases end. Afterwards, the apartments will be available to both students and the general public.
As for the Seaton offices, the University intends to eventually relocate employees from the three other Baltimore campuses to the building.
"The University has space problem issues and we will have the ability to put some of our employees into the offices," McGill said.
Even some academic-related offices could be relocated to Seaton Court, O'Shea said.
In February, Hopkins announced its intention to buy the 68-acre corporate campus of the St. Paul Cos. in Mount Washington to use as administrations offices. Each year for the past three years, Hopkins has added 1,000 new jobs per year.
The Mount Washington purchase was made to "free up space on the Baltimore campus primarily for research," McGill said. The deal closed this past week and workers will begin to move in late this year or early next year, O'Shea said.
Excluding the Dell House, Seaton Court and the St. Paul campus, Hopkins occupies approximately 12 million square feet of space in Baltimore. The figure includes the Homewood and East Baltimore campuses and leased space around the city.
"The neighborhoods surrounding Homewood are very important to the future of the University, and we are working with our neighbors in a number of ways to enhance these wonderful residential and shopping communities," McGill said. "The deal is another way of saying that we're here to stay, we're investing in the community and we're committed to the future of the Great Homewood area."
In the past few years, Hopkins has embarked on a plan to renovate buildings surrounding the Homewood campus to add shops, restaurants and housing. A new bookstore is planned for the Ivy building. O'Shea said he did now know of any other acquisition plans.
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