Johns Hopkins University Buying Newseum Property in DC for $373M


The building that houses Newseum at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C. is being sold to Johns Hopkins University for $372.5 million, according to a press release from Freedom Forum Institute, a private foundation that created and provides most of the funding for Newseum.

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The acquisition deal “remains subject to all necessary regulatory approvals” and the interactive museum will stay open through the year while the forum searches for a new location in the D.C. region, per the release. Newseum, which houses exhibits and hosts events focused on the free press and First Amendment rights, opened in 2008.

The acquisition includes the entire 600,000-square-foot complex that encompasses roughly 470,000 square feet of museum space (which spans seven levels with 15 galleries and 15 theaters), conference spaces, parking, the 135-unit luxury apartment building called Newseum Residences and The Source by Wolfgang Puck restaurant, according to The Washington Business Journal.

Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins plans to consolidate its existing locations in D.C. and create “a world-class academic space that can be optimized for current and future research, education and engagement” at the new property, Johns Hopkins President Ronald Daniels said in a prepared statement. The university owns three D.C. buildings at 1619, 1717 and 1740 Massachusetts Avenue NW, which are collectively assessed at $104.8 million and will be put on the market, per WBJ.

Freedom Forum has contributed more than $600 million to build and fund Newseum, according to the release. The announcement of the property’s sale comes more than a year after the museum reviewed its funding priorities, which showed “unsustainable operating costs” for the museum.

“This was a difficult decision, but it was the responsible one,” Jan Neuharth, the chair and CEO of Freedom Forum, said in a prepared statement. “We remain committed to continuing our programs—in a financially sustainable way.”

In addition to a new home for Newseum, Peter Prichard, the chair of the Newseum board of trustees, said in the release that officials plan to continue the museum’s work through digital outreach, traveling exhibits and web-based programs in schools “for decades to come.”