Johns Hopkins to Acquire Newseum Building in Washington, D.C.
By Dave Alexander
Johns Hopkins University has taken the first steps to relocate its Washington, D.C.-based graduate programs to a new, high-visibility home in the heart of the nation's capital, a move that better positions JHU to inform and convene national and global decision-makers and amplify the real-world impact of its research and scholarship.
The university announced today that it has reached agreement, subject to regulatory approvals, to purchase the iconic building that currently houses the Newseum, located on Pennsylvania Avenue, the District's most prestigious thoroughfare. Johns Hopkins plans to transform the building into a modern, world-class interdisciplinary academic facility anchored by JHU's School of Advanced International Studies and optimized for learning, creativity, community events, and the exchange of ideas.
Moving the university's D.C.-based graduate programs to a single campus will create new opportunities for interaction and collaboration among those pursuing advanced degrees in Washington at SAIS, the Carey Business School, the School of Nursing, and the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences' Advanced Academic Programs.
It also will position Johns Hopkins within steps of the U.S. Capitol building and the decision-makers debating critical issues in one of the world's most influential cities.
"With the acquisition and renovation of the Newseum, we will have an unparalleled opportunity to bring all of our current D.C.-based Johns Hopkins graduate programs together in a single, landmark, state-of-the-art building," Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels wrote in a message to the university community today.
"Moreover, 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. 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."
The property currently is owned by the Newseum's founder, the Freedom Forum, which moved the museum to 555 Pennsylvania Ave. from nearby Rosslyn, Virginia, in 2008. In 2017 the Freedom Forum announced it was exploring a range of options for its future, including the possible sale of the building. The group put the property on the market in early 2018.
Johns Hopkins will purchase the property for $372.5 million. The deal gives the Freedom Forum support to preserve its mission for "free press, free speech, and free spirit for all people." Under the terms of the purchase agreement, the Newseum is expected to remain open to the public at its current location through 2019.