After reviewing five offers, the city of Baltimore has agreed to sell 38 acres of the former Baltimore Colts training camp in Owings Mills for $4.75 million to the Price Co., the San Diego-based operator of discount retail outlets known as Price Club.
Baltimore's Board of Estimates voted yesterday to accept Price's offer, the highest of five submitted after the Schmoke administration solicited offers for the property last summer.
John Hentschel, real estate officer for the city, called the transaction a "win-win-win" situation because the sale price exceeds the $4.6 million the city paid Colts owner Robert Irsay in 1986 for the entire Colts property, which includes 100 acres and a training center that the city will continue to own.
Mr. Hentschel said the sale also would generate tax revenue for Baltimore County and give Price the land it has been seeking to build an Owings Mills outlet, which would be its third in the Baltimore area.
"We've sold off less than half the land, and we recaptured our entire investment. And we still have the playing fields and training facility," Mr. Hentschel said.
At $125,000 an acre, "it's a very good price," he said. "We're very pleased."
According to the contract, the city would sell 38 acres off the 11000 block of Bonita Avenue. The property is less than a mile north of Reisterstown Road and is zoned for light manufacturing.
The city will retain ownership of the other 62 acres, including practice fields, parking areas and the actual training center, for possible use by another professional football team if one comes to Baltimore. The city is now using the property as a training center for police officers, Mr. Hentschel said.
Price has Baltimore-area Price Clubs at 9919 Pulaski Highway in White Marsh and at 575 Ordnance Road in Glen Burnie.
Price officials were not available for comment, but Mr. Hentschel told the Board of Estimates that the company plans to build its third area retail store on the property.
Under the agreement, Price is expected to deposit 15 percent of the purchase price, or $712,500, within five days and pay the rest within 120 days. Its contract gives it a 90-day study period to conduct soil tests and determine whether to proceed with the purchase.
The sale also must be approved by the City Council, and Price must obtain Baltimore County approval for its plans before it can proceed with construction.
Mr. Hentschel said the transaction would work out especially well for Baltimore because the project would not draw office or industrial tenants from the city.
Also, city officials knew from the beginning that they were likely to get a higher price from a bidder planning to use the property than from a speculative developer who wanted to buy the land and then lease space in its project.
The second-highest bid came from Riparius Development Corp. of Timonium, which offered $3,078,000, or $81,000 an acre. Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. offered $1.7 million, or $44,737 an acre, and planned to build a new substation on the land. MIE Investment Co. offered $1,055,000, or $27,763 an acre.