Contact Us

Johns Hopkins To Buy Newseum Building On Pennsylvania Avenue For $373M

The Newseum building on Pennsylvania Avenue.

The large Pennsylvania Avenue building that houses the Newseum will soon be converted into an educational facility for Johns Hopkins University

The Baltimore-based university has reached a deal to acquire the building from the Freedom Forum, the foundation that runs the museum, Johns Hopkins President Ronald Daniels announced in a letter Friday.

The 400K SF building at 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW sold for $372.5M, the university said in a separate blog post detailing the deal. The university plans to begin renovating the building next year and move in by early 2023. It is consolidating its D.C. operations from three separate buildings into the Pennsylvania Avenue space.

Johns Hopkins currently occupies four buildings on the 1600 and 1700 blocks of Massachusetts Avenue NW. It owns three of the buildings and said it plans to sell them to help finance the Newseum building acquisition, in combination with institutional and philanthropic money. Johns Hopkins in November received a $1.8B donation from Michael Bloomberg

"The renovated building will provide opportunities for every academic division of the university to pursue research and educational activities in Washington—complementing and drawing on those conducted on our flagship Baltimore campuses and deepening our connections to debates over national and global policy," Daniels wrote in the letter.

The Newseum opened its Pennsylvania Avenue building in 2008, moving from Rosslyn. The foundation said it committed more than $600M to build and fund the museum. But it reportedly faced financial challenges, including $300M in debt, and in February it retained Eastdil Secured to market its building for sale. Freedom Forum CEO Jan Neuharth said the museum will remain open through 2019 and the foundation is exploring options for a new home in the D.C. area. 

“This was a difficult decision, but it was the responsible one,” Neuharth said in a release. “We remain committed to continuing our programs — in a financially sustainable way — to champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment and to increase public awareness about the importance of a free and fair press."