Johns Hopkins purchases historic Stieff Silver building
The Johns Hopkins University today bought Baltimore’s historic Stieff Silver complex, making a highly visible symbol of the city’s manufacturing heritage formally a part of its future in the knowledge economy.
The two-building 1.2-acre former silver factory complex, where the university has leased space since 2002, will continue to house Whiting School of Engineering tenants. It will also offer swing space, providing a temporary home for Whiting School offices and departments whose permanent quarters at the university’s nearby Homewood campus undergo renovations.
“The Whiting School is proud that a site so important to Baltimore’s history is now a part of our own,” said Ed Schlesinger, dean of the school. “Engineers like our faculty and students are in a unique position to appreciate both the craftsmanship and the artistry of those who produced much-admired silverware at Stieff for so many decades. I like to think that those Stieff craftsmen would admire and appreciate the advances that will come out of our work in their former buildings.”
The university bought the complex, at the south end of Hampden between Homewood and the Jones Falls, from KS Wyman Park Development Company LLC, its owner since 2007.
Commuters on the northbound Jones Falls Expressway know the complex for the large, highly visible and brightly lit “Stieff Silver” sign atop the site’s two-story original building, built in two stages in 1925 and 1929. On the National Register of Historic Places since 2000, the 35,000-square-foot “old” building now houses some non-university tenants and vacant space.
Whiting School labs and research facilities currently occupy much of the 49,000-square-foot 1971 “new” building. As an owner rather than the tenant, the school can continue to invest in the facilities without concern about someday being displaced.
Though planning for new uses continues, in the short term, the school plans both to move more research to the Stieff Silver site and expand the facilities already there. It also plans to transfer to Stieff two academic support groups from the school’s Engineering for Professionals program.