The oldest building on the Can Company site was constructed by the Norton Tin Can and Plate Company in 1895, and by 1900, the company was the largest can manufacturer in the United States. The founder of the Norton Company became the first president of the American Can Company.
Throughout the early 1900s, the site expanded to occupy the entire triangular parcel, with the construction of the Boiler House, Factory Building and Annex in 1913, and the Signature Building in 1924. Other structures occupied the site as well, including infill buildings constructed in the early 1960s.
At it peak, the American Can Company employed as many as eight-hundred local residents. However, when the American Can merged with the National Can Company in the late 1980s, the factory was closed, all of the jobs were lost, and the property became vacant. In 1987, the City of Baltimore received a UDAG grant, $8.5 million of which was directed towards clearing the site and constructing a mixed-use commercial and residential development by Michael Swerdlow, including two high rise residential towers. After strong community opposition, a PCB spill on the site, and loss of financing, Swerdlow abandoned the project.
In 1994, Safeway purchased the eastern half of the site and demolished the existing buildings to make way for a supermarket and 300 space parking lot. In 1997, The Can Company LLC acquired the remaining 4.3 acres, which included the most historically significant buildings on the site, and quickly began development to allow its first and largest tenant, DAP Products, Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of sealants and adhesives, to relocate its 40,000 square foot world headquarters to the site in March 1998. The Can Company is now the home to retailers, restaurants, and offices.