Just when developer David Kornblatt thought things couldn't get worse, they did.
His Baltimore real estate brokerage firm, the David Kornblatt Co., has been under federal bankruptcy protection for two months.
On Monday, he filed for bankruptcy protection for four partnerships that developed, manage and lease the downtown St. Paul Plaza office tower.
That same day, three banks filed a petition under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy laws, in essence an attempt to force Kornblatt and his wife, Barbara, into personal bankruptcy.
Paul Nussbaum, an attorney representing Sovran and Signet banks, says the Chapter 7 filing was necessary to prevent "dismemberment" of the Kornblatts' estate. He declines to say how much the couple is worth.
The couple guaranteed more than $3.5 million in loans from Sovran Bank-Maryland, Signet Bank-Maryland and Carrollton Bank of Baltimore to the Kornblatt company and the North Charles Limited Partnership. Kornblatt headed the North Charles partnership, which was renovating 217 N. Charles St., a five-story office building next to the St. Paul Plaza building.
Sovran Bank, which had foreclosed on the mortgage on 217, bought the building for $600,000 last week at public auction.
The developers owed Sovran more than $1 million from a delinquent mortgage.
"The real estate business has taken a free fall and taken me along with it," Kornblatt said yesterday.
Kornblatt sought Chapter 11 protection Monday for Saint Paul Plaza Office Tower Limited Partnership; Saint Paul Plaza Upper Garage Limited Partnership; Saint Paul Plaza Retail Limited Partnership, and 10-22 East Lexington Associates Limited Partnership.
St. Paul Plaza has 270,000 square feet that includes a 15-story parking garage and a 13-story office tower. The project cost $40 million to build. It opened in 1989.
The four partnerships owe 71 creditors more than $42.5 million, which includes a $22.1 million debt to Maryland National Bank.
In April, when Kornblatt filed for Chapter 11 protection for the real estate and brokerage firm, he particularly announced that his latest project, the St. Paul Plaza office tower, would not be affected.
"That at least was the game plan," Kornblatt says.
St. Paul Plaza, at St. Paul Place and Lexington Street, is 70 percent occupied. Tenants include the Maryland attorney general's office, the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies and the Veterans Administration.
Kornblatt says he has been trying to restructure his debts, but to no avail.