The city has agreed to sell 38 acres of the 100-acre tract that houses the old Colt training and practice complex, a deal that pumps $4.7 million into the city's coffers and leaves plenty of land to accommodate a facility for a new National Football League team.
The Board of Estimates approved the land sale yesterday to the San Diego-based Price Co., which plans to build a store on the site. The deal also allows the city to more than recoup the $4.6 million it invested in 1986 when it bought the complex from Colt owner Robert Irsay as part of a legal settlement.
"We sold off less than half of the parcel and recaptured more than we invested," said John J. Hentschel Jr., the city's real estate officer.
The Price Co., which plans to build a Price Club discount store on the site, made the most lucrative of five offers the city received for the property, which is off Bonita Avenue in the rapidly growing Owings Mills section of Baltimore County.
"It was not only important that the city received the best price, but that we have a good use for the site," Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke said.
The mayor added that the city is exploring whether to sell or lease any of the hundreds of acres of land it owns outside the city's borders. In addition to the complex, the city owns watershed and other property that may be suitable for sale.
Herbert J. Belgrad, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, said the city's sale of the land at the Colt complex will not hurt efforts to lure another professional football team to town. The Colt practice fields, parking lots and offices and training rooms were not included in the parcel that was sold, so the facility probably will be part of a package that would go to an expansion team if one is awarded to Baltimore.
"The tract that remains is certainly more than adequate for a training facility," Belgrad said.
The sale of the Colt parcel, which must be approved by the City Council, comes more than a year after Councilman Joseph T. "Jody" Landers 3rd, D-3rd, introduced a bill that would have required the sale of the entire 100-acre parcel. The bill has sat in committee while the Schmoke administration moved to sell the property.
Yesterday, Landers said he is pleased with the Board of Estimates action.
"I'm pleased with . . . the return the city got for the property," Landers said. "But ideally, I would like to see the Stadium Authority buy the entire facility at a fair market price so they could assume the cost of maintaining it."