Annapolis Federal Savings Bank took possession of the financially troubled Spa Creek Yacht Club Monday, after a public foreclosure auction in which the bank offered the sole bid.
The bank, which holds the mortgage on the Eastport marina, bid $700,000 for the property, which includes 56 boat slips, a clubhouse, a pool house and a pool.
Developer Dennis C. Blaeuer had listed more than $7 million in debts on Spa Creek and another marina, White Rocks Yacht Club in Pasadena, when he declared bankruptcy in two separate filings in September.
Blaeuer filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code, listing $1.4 million in debts on Spa Creek.
On Monday, Annapolis Federal foreclosed on Spa Creek. Bankruptcy documents list the bank as the yacht club's major creditor, with $986,505 outstanding on a loan to Burnside Limited Partnership, which operated the marina.
A crowd of spectators shivered in the cold outside the Anne Arundel Circuit Courthouse as auctioneer Robert H. Campbell unsuccessfully cajoled bystanders into upping the bank's $700,000 bid. Blaeuer and his son stood by and watched.
"It's too . . . cold out here, boys and girls," said Campbell, of Robert H. Campbell & Associates. "What did you do? Spend all your . . . money at Christmas?
"No money left? Now's the time to bid. You want me to sing you a little song and warm you up?"
But try as he might, Campbell could convince no one else to step forward.
Annapolis Federal plans to put the marina up for sale, said Richard Moreland, the bank's assistant vice president.
"We'll hold onto it until the economy breaks," Moreland said. "We're not marina operators. We will sell it."
Blaeuer bought the $1.3 million Burnside Street marina in April 1989, intending to upgrade the boat slips and sell them in packages that would include clubhouse memberships.
But, Blaeuer said, Annapolis officials refused to approve the project and the bank backed out of financing.
Others in the boating industry, however, have blamed the marina's demise on lack of management.
The Spa Creek foreclosure may be reflective of a national downturn in the boating industry that started two years ago.
Since then, industry officials say, new boat sales have slumped, and maritime businesses have found it increasingly difficult to survive.