The parent company of one of Baltimore's busiest auctioneering firms has launched an affiliate to provide leasing, management and consulting services to property owners.
The new company is an apparent response to the high number of recent auctions in which lending institutions end up assuming control of commercial properties after borrowers default on their loans.
BSC Financial Group, the parent of Atlantic Auctions, has launched BSC Leasing and Management Corp., a company whose focus will be the retail and office segments of the commercial market.
Raymond C. Nichols, chairman of BSC Financial Group, said the new company is a natural outgrowth of the other BSC affiliates. "BSC Leasing and Management will allow us to supplement and expand the services we currently provide to financial institutions and the commercial real estate community," he said.
Although the fate of the Southern Hotel won't be known until it goes on the auction block at 1 p.m. today, its status as a city landmark may make it difficult to sell to any group other than the one that controlled it until recently, a group led by the Trammell Crow Co.
According to Kathleen Kotarba, executive director of Baltimore's Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, and Deborah Goodman, CHAP's chairman, the commission's 1989 decision to grant tentative approval for demolition of the Southern applies only to Trammell Crow and its proposed replacement project, a 45-story office tower called One Light Street. Any other buyer "would have to go through the whole review process again," Mrs. Goodman said.
The auction, by Michael Fox Auctioneers, is a foreclosure sale on behalf of Signet Bank/Maryland, which is owed more than $6.7 million by a group that attempted to renovate the hotel before Trammell Crow became involved.
The former Hotel Junker at 20-22 E. Fayette St., a seven-story building that was converted to offices several years ago by a group headed by developer Martin P. Azola, was sold at auction yesterday for $1.125 million to Home Federal Savings Bank of Hagerstown.
Home Federal is the lending institution that foreclosed on Mr. Azola's group, claiming in court documents that it owed the bank more than $2.5 million.