A local investor known only as Mount Vernon Properties Inc. bought most of the property that was auctioned off last week at Sorrento Run, a 69-unit cluster housing development off Falls Road just south of Old Court Road in Brooklandville.
According to auctioneer Jack Billig of A. J. Billig & Co., Mount Vernon bid $1.6 million to buy about 70 acres of undeveloped land within the community, where five houses previously had been sold and occupied.
Mount Vernon also bid $155,000 to buy one of three partially built homes within the community. The two other partially completed houses sold for $185,000 and $160,000. Original prices ranged from $350,000 to $450,000, making Sorrento Run one of the most expensive attached housing communities in the area.
The auction was a foreclosure sale on behalf of Maryland National Bank, which initiated foreclosure proceedings earlier this year against the original developer, Sorrento Run Joint Venture.
Mr. Billig said he could not provide any information about the buyer of the land except to say that he is expected to complete the luxury development in compliance with county zoning controls. He speculated that the bidder purchased one of the houses for possible use as a furnished model or sales office for his project. Current zoning permits construction of 61 more dwellings, according to the auctioneers.
Mr. Billig added that the sale marks one of the first times in recent memory that the lender did not have to "buy back" foreclosed properties at one of his auctions.
He said he believes it is a sign that the local residential market is improving and that buyers are moving to take advantage of development opportunities. The two other buyers are expected to finish the houses for their own use, he added.
The sales total at the auction was $2.1 million. According to documents on file with the Circuit Court of Baltimore County, Maryland National agreed to lend the original builders up to $9.366 million in the late 1980s. The joint venture owed the bank $5,340,167.74 as of Nov. 5, 1991, and interest was accruing at the rate of $1,299.89 a day, according to the court filings.
Seeking to lure more first-time homebuyers as interest rates fall, the Ryland Group has opened a community in Howard County where it is offering "single family ownership at a town home price."
Meadowridge Landing is the name of the community, which includes ranch-style homes and bi-level detached homes with basements. Prices range from $120,000 to $140,000.
"Ryland has received requests from first-time buyers and empty nesters for ranch-style homes," said Greg Keyes, sales manager of the company's Columbia division. "Interest rates are at their lowest in 20 years, so . . . these prices make Meadowridge perfect for the first-time homebuyers."
Buyers who put a 10 percent down payment on a $120,000 house and take out a loan at 8 1/2 percent interest could qualify for a mortgage if they have an annual income of $40,000 or more, said Ryland Mortgage Co. branch manager Kathy Gorman.
The homes at Meadowridge Landing have between 960 and 2,400 square feet of living space, including three bedrooms and full eat-in kitchens. Options include hardwood floors, family rooms and a fourth bedroom in some floor plans. More information about them is available from the company at (301) 379-6184.
Around the region:
* Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital will hold a dedication today to recognize the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation for a $1.5 million grant toward the renovation and addition to its new lobby building. The grant was applied toward construction of the $15 million project, which also included the construction of a 55,000-square-foot patient wing and renovation the Goodman, Burk and Suskin buildings in the complex. The architects were Nichols and Associates and Wilmot, Bower and Associates. Whiting Turner Contracting Co. was the construction manager.
* A 22.8-acre parcel in Bowie that is zoned for residential development was acquired at auction for $1.68 million last week by First American Bank. The lender initiated foreclosure proceedings last year against the previous owner, Porten Sullivan. Porten Sullivan planned to build 146 town houses on the property, located south of Route 197 off Mitchellville Road. Michael Fox Auctioneers handled the sale.
* Robert Agus, a residential development expert who was
formerly associated with the Manekin Corp. of Baltimore, has left that company to start his own local business, The Robert Agus Development Co. Mr. Agus said he will be involved with both development and consulting, while also serving as the head of the Baltimore chapter of the Home Builders Association of Maryland. His largest project for Manekin Corp. was a town house development called North Shore at the Anchorage.