MetLife affiliate sells land under Charles Center tower

January 19, 1991|By Edward Gunts

One of the original property owners in Baltimore's Charles Center renewal area has sold the last of its holdings there.

Metropolitan Real Estate Investments, an affiliate of Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., announced this week that it sold the land beneath the One Charles Center office tower last month for an undisclosed sum.

Metropolitan Life is affiliated with Metropolitan Structures, the builder that won a city competition to construct the 22-story office tower with a design by noted architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Completed in the early 1960s, the building was the first new structure to open within the city's 33-acre Charles Center renewal area and helped trigger a wave of development resulting in more than two dozen new and renovated buildings there.

MetLife sold the land to One Charles Center Associates, a Chicago-based group that acquired the office tower in late 1988 and leases the bulk of it to a subsidiary of the CSX Corp.

In a related transaction, MetLife also financed a permanent mortgage to cover the 1988 acquisition by the Chicago investment group, an affiliate of First Capital Financial Corp.

Gail Griffith, senior investment analyst for MetLife's Washington office, said the company has owned the land since 1964 but agreed to sell it so that the Chicago group could gain absolute ownership. She said the decision to provide a permanent mortgage is a sign of its confidence in One Charles Center and thedowntown Baltimore real estate market.

"This arrangement offered MetLife an excellent opportunity to enter the Baltimore market" as a lender, she said. "With the completion of this transaction, MetLife will continue to build relationships and seek new investments in the Baltimore market."

MetLife is one of the world's largest financial-services organizations, with more than $26 billion invested in real estate nationwide. The Washington office manages a portfolio of more than $1.3 billion.

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