Cardinal Industries Sells Bwi-area Plant

January 02, 1991|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff writer

Struggling to put its financial house in order, a bankrupt modular home builder has sold its factory outside Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

Cardinal Industries once employed more than 300 people at its Hammonds Ferry Road plant. But the Columbus, Ohio-based firm, which declared bankruptcy 1 years ago, has abandoned modular home construction, selling all five of its plants around the country.

Maryland National Bank, which held an $8 million mortgage on the Glen Burnie plant, purchased the 226,000-square-foot site from Cardinal Industries for $350,000 late last year, said Donald Durocher, a Cardinal Industries spokesman.

Cardinal Industries was a pioneer and leader in the construction of modular homes, using 12-foot-by-24-foot building units.

Three years ago, the Glen Burnie plant was the centerpiece of expansion plans. But the industry -- popular among investors as a tax shelter -- never recovered from 1986 federal tax reforms.

Cardinal Industries declared bankruptcy in May 1989 after falling behind in its mortgage payments on the manufacturing plant and a Knights Inn Motel in Laurel. The Glen Burnie plant stands idle.

A federal judge appointed Jay Alix, a Detroit-based accountant, as trustee over the property last January. During a brief September appearance in Columbia, Howard County, Alix promised investors he would navigate Cardinal Industries out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy by September 1991. Durocher said the recent sale was part of that program.

"We're maybe nine months from wrapping up the Cardinal story," Durocher said last week.

Alix is shifting Cardinal Industries from modular home manufacturing to property management, Durocher said. At the time of its bankruptcy, the company owned and managed 550 properties across the Eastern Seaboard.

In Maryland, Cardinal Industries co-owns 10 apartment complexes and seven Knights Inn motels with groups of investors, including many Anne Arundel residents, known as limited partners.

Many properties, including the 48-unit Glen Hollow Apartment complex in Glen Burnie, are financially successful, corporate officials and investors say. But they, too, have become entangled in Cardinal Industries' other financial woes.

Although profitable, the four-year-old Glen Hollow complex was placed under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last June to stave off worried bankers, Durocher said.

Michael T. Long, vice president of Clark Melvin Securities Corp. in Annapolis, agreed the apartment complex is making money. But Long -- whose firm sold half of the 35 shares in Glen Hollow, mostly to Anne Arundel residents -- said he would like to see control wrested away from ailing Cardinal Industries.

"It's performing as projected, which means it's a fine investment if we could just get control of it," Long said.

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