Belt's Landing bonanza lures buyers

September 13, 1992|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

The great Oklahoma Territory land rush it wasn't. But 15 minutes before the doors opened at 11 a.m. yesterday, about 50 prospective buyers lined up along Fell Street in Baltimore for a crack at marked-down housing in a condominium sell-a-thon.

"This is not a good deal. It's a steal," said Joel Gamel, a partner in the investment group that bought 92 town houses and condominiums called Belt's Landing for $4.2 million from Maryland National Bank last month.

The sale was scheduled to go on through the weekend, around the clock if necessary. Prospective buyers were escorted to the condos by one of the 75 sales agents on hand, first come, first served.

Mr. Gamel predicted that the units would be sold out by this afternoon. About 40 had been sold before the weekend sale began.

Reuben and Laurie Goldstein, "empty nesters" from Silver Spring who were drawn by the idea of retiring in the city where Mr. Goldstein lived as a young man, learned the price of a harbor view.

They looked at a two-bedroom unit with big living room windows framing sun-splashed waters of the harbor. Then they learned it was priced at $267,000. A similar unit off the waterfront sold for $187,000.

Mr. and Mrs. Goldstein looked hard at a two-bedroom unit priced at $139,000, but decided in the end that the 25 percent down payment and the uncertainty of being able to lease the unit for 2 1/2 years until Mr. Goldstein retires from his job in Silver Spring were prohibitive factors.

Mr. Gamel's group bought Belt's Landing last month from Maryland National Bank, which took the project over last winter after the original developers went bankrupt. The bank took a nearly $20 million loss on the sale, making it possible for the investors to offer a two-bedroom waterfront condo originally priced at $378,000 for $199,000 and a one-bedroom unit with a study originally priced at $214,000 for $92,000.

The investors spent $2 million in renovations, replacing lobby carpet with marble floors, gilding the ceiling with pink cherubim bearing a basket and replacing furniture. Mr. Gamel said the agents wrote three sales contracts in the first half-hour yesterday.

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