After 10 years as Baltimore's real estate officer, John J. Hentschel left his $65,000-a-year position Monday to launch his own investment counseling, appraisal and consulting business, The Millenium Group.
Arthur Held, former head of the Baltimore Economic Development Corp. (BEDCO), has become the city's real estate officer, working under a one-year contract.
As real estate officer, Mr. Hentschel, 42, oversaw the management of 4,600 city properties and 3 million square feet of office space. He played key roles in determining a new site for the city police headquarters, representing the city in the sale of the Belvedere Hotel and promoting development of Port Covington Business Park.
His departure comes four months after Jacqueline McLean replaced Hyman Pressman as city comptroller, the elected official who oversees the city's real estate office.
"This move will allow the new city comptroller . . . to assemble her own team while enabling me . . . to participate in the enormous opportunities in today's troubled real estate marketplace," he said.
Recruited at the age of 31 from his private real estate consulting firm to head the city's real estate office, Mr. Hentschel became one of the youngest department heads in the city's history. Heading a 10-member office with an annual budget of $1 million, he has participated in more than $2 billion worth of real estate transactions.
During his tenure, Mr. Hentschel received the Counselor of Real Estate designation from the American Society of Real Estate Counselors for his accomplishments.
He said he hopes to advise businesses and government officials on real estate and investment matters, appraise property and perform other consulting work.
"There are some very exciting opportunities out there right now. . . . I've had a good time here. When I came here, I wanted to make a difference. I hope I did."
Mr. Held was the first president of BEDCO, a quasi-public agency that promoted business development in the city. He left Baltimore in the early 1980s to work for Solarex, a solar energy business that was then establishing quarters in Frederick. He left Solarex to start a consulting business.