The Maryland Stadium Authority and two developers today settled on a price of $11 million for the historic B&O warehouse at Camden Yards.
The price of the 102-year-old building has been the subject of a 2-year dispute between the authority and owners Willard Hackerman and Morton Macks. The owners had asked for $18 million. The authority had offered $7.5 million.
"We'll draw up the papers and that's it," Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Joseph H.H. Kaplan said today. "It's over with."
The dispute was the subject of a unique hearing in Baltimore Circuit Court earlier this month. The result was that Kaplan suggested a complicated formula to determine the property's worth as of Dec. 4, 1986 -- the day before it was announced that Camden Yards was a favored site for a new baseball stadium.
Hackerman and Macks had purchased the 1,116-foot-long building in 1983 for $4.6 million. Trading as Harbor Exchange Inc., they planned to install discount outlets and office space in the eight-story warehouse, situated beside Interstate 395.
The stadium authority condemned the property and took possession in October 1989. The agency plans to move its offices into the building and add souvenir shops and cafeterias by the time the stadium opens in 1992.
The four-day specialized hearing before Kaplan was the first procedure of its kind in the state judicial system. It was designed to allow a judge to listen to 24 hours of testimony -- in this case the conflicting warehouse appraisals -- and render an advisory opinion with the hope of avoiding a full trial.
Last week, Kaplan issued a non-binding ruling that the warehouse was worth between $10 million and $12 million.
Kaplan then ordered both sides to the bargaining table to hash out the differences and attempt to avoid a two-month jury trial.
Following two negotiating sessions, the matter was settled.
Hackerman and Macks have already been paid for the building, Kaplan added. Their partnership withdrew $11 million from a stadium authority escrow account in 1989. That amount was based on an appraisal the authority conducted at the time.