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Johns Hopkins University to Acquire 555 Pennsylvania Ave., Create a Consolidated “Hopkins D.C.” Facility

January 25, 2019
CONTACT: Marianne von Nordeck

The Johns Hopkins University released the following statement regarding the agreement reached between the university and the Freedom Forum, the creator and principal funder of the Newseum:

“Johns Hopkins University is pleased to announce it has reached an agreement with the Freedom Forum to acquire the property that currently houses the Newseum at 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW in Washington, D.C., subject to all necessary regulatory approvals.

“Acquiring this iconic property in the heart of the nation’s capital will represent a transformative moment for Johns Hopkins University and place our research and expertise in the midst of national and global decision-making. This new location will allow us to consolidate and expand our Washington, D.C., academic facilities into a single state-of-the-art building – a world-class academic space that can be optimized for current and future research, education and engagement.

“Johns Hopkins’ acquisition of the building also provides financial support for the Freedom Forum’s vitally important First Amendment mission. As a nonprofit academic research institution committed to advancing knowledge and the principles of free expression, Johns Hopkins will continue to use this iconic facility as a home for education, discovery, free and open debate and the preservation and advancement of democratic ideals. Johns Hopkins also is deeply committed to serving and engaging the public, and at this new facility, we will continue to open the doors of the university for a variety of events and offerings.

“Anchored by the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins’ expanded presence in Washington, D.C., will increase our capacity to convene and inform decision-makers, contribute to national and international policy development and forge exciting new connections to our home city of Baltimore. This acquisition offers an extraordinary opportunity to fuel the exchange of ideas and broaden the real-world impact of the research and study that emanates from our flagship campus in Baltimore. It will also yield significant benefits for our students and faculty in Washington, allowing for better-designed classroom, event and community spaces and improved services and amenities, in a vibrant Washington neighborhood.

“We are excited about this chance to deepen our connection with the District and enthusiastic about becoming part of the Penn Quarter neighborhood – creating jobs and further contributing to the vitality of Pennsylvania Avenue. We look forward to working with Mayor Muriel Bowser, City Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, their Council colleagues, community groups, public agencies and commissions that oversee the landscape of Pennsylvania Avenue to make this project a reality.

“The Newseum is a unique, purpose-built property that will require significant renovations and governmental reviews for conversion to academic use. We are eager to engage with elected officials, public agencies and the surrounding community and will be sharing additional details as they become available in the coming months.

“Subject to all necessary approvals, Johns Hopkins will acquire the Freedom Forum property on Pennsylvania Avenue for $372.5 million. The project will be made possible through the sale of Johns Hopkins’ existing D.C. properties, university funds and philanthropic support.”

Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels announced the building acquisition in a message to the university and Johns Hopkins Health System on Friday, Jan. 25: “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,” said Daniels. “Our commitment to contributing our ideas and expertise to these debates lies at the core of what it means to be a vital and relevant university.”

President Daniels’ full message can be found here.


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