American Institute of Physics
Press Release

American Center for Physics Makes Strategic Decision to Sell College Park Landmark Property to University of Maryland

SEP 28, 2023
Following the sale, ACP will lease back space in the College Park building and put down new roots in D.C.
Aerial image of ACP College Park

Aerial view of the American Center for Physics on move-in day, October 25, 1993.

Credit: Photograph by Marc Brodsky, courtesy AIP Emilio Segre Visual Archives.

COLLEGE PARK, Md., Sept. 28, 2023 – The American Center for Physics (ACP) has announced the sale of its landmark building and land to the University of Maryland. Through a mutually beneficial partnership with UMD, One Physics Ellipse will continue to be a home to ACP and its member organizations: the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Institute of Physics, and the American Physical Society. ACP and its three nonprofit members will maintain a smaller, more sustainable footprint within the building with workspace for employees and AIP’s library and archives collections.

“This partnership between ACP and UMD allows for the best use of our resources,” said Beth Cunningham, president of the ACP Board of Directors. “ACP has been the hub of our organizations’ activities for nearly 30 years, but we recognize that the way we work has changed over that time. Reallocating our workspace will help us continue to move the physical sciences forward and expand our convening options to include both our traditional College Park location and a planned location in Washington, D.C.”

Savills real estate advisory firm represented ACP in the sale of the College Park property. As part of the sale, ACP signed a 10-year leaseback agreement with UMD for space at One Physics Ellipse that will allow AIP’s Niels Bohr Library & Archives to remain at its current site and continue with improvements to its expanded vault and upgraded environmental protection. The ACP partners have therefore secured their ability to welcome researchers to experience the priceless collections for years to come. Also, AAPT, AIP, and APS will share office space on the fifth floor and have access to the meeting facilities in the building—accommodations that will complement the new convening and working facilities ACP is currently preparing in a new space in downtown Washington.

For UMD, the property and office building represent an integral part of the university’s Discovery District, the epicenter of academic, research, and economic development in greater College Park. The Discovery District is largely made up of leading research organizations, including university stakeholders, corporate partners, government researchers, and entrepreneurs.

“Growing our footprint in the Discovery District opens new opportunities for the University of Maryland to deepen its relationships with public and private partners that share our vision for building a strong, socially engaged and environmentally aware workforce,” said University of Maryland President Darryll J. Pines. “With collaborators like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Quantum Lab at Maryland, we will continue to be leaders in key areas like quantum computing, climate science, and artificial intelligence.”

An important milestone, the sale of the College Park property is part of ACP’s evolution to meet the workforce and member needs of today and tomorrow. This strategic move allows the three ACP partners to reorient for the future thanks to the visionary volunteer and professional leadership of the past, and the support of donors and friends.

“The trajectory of ACP’s future builds on the legacy and vision of all those who came before,” said Cunningham. “While this change is bittersweet, the post-pandemic reality requires us to be bold in new ways and continue to be conscientious and forward-thinking stewards of our shared mission.”

ACP’s future second location at 555 12th Street NW in Washington, D.C., is under construction and expected to open in 2024. With numerous meeting rooms and a flexible floor plan, the new space will be geared toward convening and collaboration. AAPT, AIP, and APS hope scientific societies and other related organizations within and beyond the AIP federation will make use of it.

About AAPT
AAPT is the premier professional society established to advance the greater good through physics education. With the support of members worldwide, AAPT is an action-oriented organization designed to develop, improve, and promote best practices for physics education as part of the global need for qualified Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics teachers who will inspire tomorrow’s leaders and decision makers. AAPT was founded in 1930 and is headquartered in the American Center for Physics in College Park, Maryland.

The mission of AIP (American Institute of Physics ) is to advance, promote, and serve the physical sciences for the benefit of humanity. AIP is a federation that advances the success of our 10 Member Societies and an institute that operates as a center of excellence supporting the physical sciences enterprise. In its role as an institute, AIP uses policy analysis, social science, and historical research to promote future progress in the physical sciences. AIP is a 501(c)(3) membership corporation of scientific societies.

About APS
The American Physical Society is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities. APS represents more than 50,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and throughout the world.

Media Contact
AIP Media