News Startup ‘Baltimore Banner’ Seeks Office Space Downtown Ahead of 2022 Launch

January 13, 2022

The article below originally appeared in the Baltimore Business Journal on January 13, 2022. The full article can be found here.

The Baltimore Banner will plant its flag on the city’s waterfront this spring, moving its offices and newsroom into new coworking space being built by Cordish Cos.

The Banner and its nonprofit parent company, the Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism, will open offices in 15,000 square feet on the fourth floor of the office building in the Power Plant complex in April. Leaders of the Baltimore-based nonprofit news group said Wednesday the organization recently signed a multi-year lease for space overlooking the Inner Harbor. The Banner is currently working out of offices in Spark coworking, also owned by Cordish, at Power Plant Live.

The lease includes naming rights, and two neon Baltimore Banner signs will soon be added to the city’s skyline.

“It is important to stay in the Inner Harbor and downtown area in a part of town where we can see some challenges and see some changes, and bring vibrancy to the area as well,” said Imtiaz Patel, CEO of the Venetoulis Institute, on Wednesday.

Cordish Cos. announced Wednesday it was expanding its popular Spark coworking space at Power Plant Live to its Power Plant complex on Pier IV. The move will add 40,000 square feet of new coworking space to the building, partially in space once leased by Ernst & Young LLP before it moved to Wills Wharf in Harbor Point.

The Cordish coworking expansion will create Spark Flex, which will offer office space opportunities for small, mid-sized and large companies downtown under leases that typically will span from 18 months to five years in length.

The Banner aims to begin publishing online in the second quarter of this year. The new offices will hold the company’s initial 50 hires in a newsroom designed as an open-concept workspace to help foster a sense of collaboration.

“We see a lot of value in all of us sitting together,” Patel said. “It’s easier to have conversations and it’s all the different parts of the business understanding what others are doing. People are not in silos. It promotes the culture. We think of ourselves as more of an entrepreneurial tech media association instead of a traditional newspaper.”

The Spark Flex space for The Banner can accommodate up to 100 employees as the organization grows over the coming couple of years, Patel said.

The Institute was formed last year by Maryland businessman and philanthropist Stewart Bainum, Jr. and his family with the goal of establishing a nonprofit news organization to cover local news and eventually statewide news.

Patel said the news organization’s first beats will include education, crime and justice, arts and culture, and health.

“A newsroom should be in the heart of the city close to the institutions we seek to hold accountable and integrated into the communities we serve and are a part of. We will be bringing more than 100 jobs to the area over the next year, helping to support the ongoing efforts to revitalize downtown Baltimore,” he said.

This article was originally published in the Baltimore Business Journal by Melody Simmons. Find the full Baltimore Business Journal article here.

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