The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. bought the Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore Hotel at auction yesterday for $6.85 million, closing the books on a failed effort to restore the 66-year-old hotel to its glory days.
The FDIC put the property up for auction after LBH Associates L.P. of Rockville defaulted on a $16 million promissory note from Bowery Savings of New York. The federal agency will take title to the hotel after a Circuit Court judge in Baltimore certifies the sale.
LBH received its original loan in 1985 from both Bowery and Yorkridge-Calvert Savings & Loan of Baltimore, but Bowery bought out Yorkridge's interest in 1986. The government became the hotel's biggest creditor when Bowery failed and was taken over by federal regulators in 1987.
With interest and penalties, the loan had grown to more than $22 million as of April last year, when the FDIC asked the court to appoint a receiver to oversee the hotel.
"When you think of Baltimore, you think of the Lord Baltimore Hotel," auctioneer Joseph Cooper said before opening the bidding. "It's an historic, prestigious landmark in downtown Baltimore. The Lord Baltimore is Baltimore."
But the bidding began sluggishly and never picked up much steam.
FDIC officials and an unidentified bidder pushed the price up in ++ increments of $50,000 and $100,000 but never approached the hotel's debt.
"There wasn't a wave of bidding," the other bidder, who declined to give his name, said after the auction. "It's really not a very interesting story."
The 24-story hotel at Baltimore and Hanover streets lost about $350,000 on operations last year, the bidders were told.
An FDIC official at the auction declined to discuss the agency's plans for the hotel.
In November, when the hotel auction was announced, auctioneer Paul R. Cooper, Joseph Cooper's son, said that LBH Associates also owed the city of Baltimore about $7 million.
At the time, Tom Goetzinger, administrator for loans and guarantees in the city's finance office, said the city supported the renovation as a way of providing more downtown hotel rooms for the Convention Center.
Major area properties sold at foreclosure auctions in the past 13 months:
Jan. 27, 1992.... Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore, Baltimore.... $6.85 million
Jan. 8..... Sorrento Run (town houses), Brooklandville*... $2.1 million
Jan. 7.... Redwood Tower, Baltimore..... $13.05 million
Nov. 21, 1991..... Anchorage marina slips, Baltimore.... $2 million
Oct. 18..... Villages of Lyonsfield Run (town houses)
Owings Mills....... $3.26 million
June 11...... Symphony Woods Office Center, Columbia..... $9 million
Jay 31..... 217 North Charles (office building)....... $600,000
April 16...... Hotel Junker, Baltimore...... $1.125 million
.......Security Office Park, Catonsville......... $4.9 million
March 4.... The Shipyard (56 apartments), Baltimore*...... $2 million
Feb. 2........ Holiday Inn, Timonium....... $8 million
B8Jan. 8...... The Brokerage, Baltimore...... $8 million
Dec. 28, 1990....... Belvedere Hotel, Baltimore...... $3.5 million
Bought by independent investors. All other properties were bought by the lenders that held the mortgage.