Fishmarket owner fighting foreclosureThe Fishmarket...

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

March 24, 1993|By Timothy J. Mullaney | Timothy J. Mullaney,Staff Writer

Fishmarket owner fighting foreclosure

The Fishmarket project is still troubled, but it's not headed for foreclosure just yet.

Lawyers for McCourt Co., the Boston-based owner of the Inner Harbor entertainment complex, filed objections on Friday to a foreclosure suit brought by GAA Inc. in January. GAA, led by developer and former Fairfax Savings Bank minority owner Jack Stoloff, has purchased a tax lien on the property. The lien arose from McCourt's failure to pay more than $662,000 in taxes.

"We just filed an answer," said Eugene Hettleman, an attorney for the McCourt interests. "We didn't pay any money, didn't liquidate any liens. It hasn't arrived at that point yet."

Mr. Hettleman contends that GAA will have to join other creditors of the Fishmarket who also hold liens on the property before the foreclosure can be completed. He says Baltimore Circuit Judge Joseph H.H. Kaplan hasn't set a hearing date on GAA's motion.

GAA attorney David Cohen didn't return a call seeking comment.

RTKL seeking work south of the border

RTKL Associates Inc. wants to cash in on the investment climate created by the pending North American Free Trade Agreement. The state's biggest architecture firm announced a joint venture with a Guadalajara firm to pursue business in Mexico and throughout South America.

An RTKL subsidiary will work with Gomez Vasquez Aldana & Asociados, a firm with 150 employees, to share marketing information and to seek out joint commissions, Kurt Haglund, RTKL assistant vice president, says. RTKL has 470 employees.

"When we find opportunities together we will pursue them together and then form a joint venture for that particular project," or arrange subcontracts if one of the firms gets the primary design contract, Mr. Haglund said.

"If this becomes a very successful alliance, we may look in the future to making it permanent.

Baltimore-based RTKL has been pushing to internationalize its business since the mid-1980s. Revenue from non-U.S. work rose to 25 percent of the firm's $44 million total last year, up from about 1 percent in 1987, Mr. Haglund said. Two percent of last year's billings came from Latin America.

RTKL, which already has offices in London and Tokyo, said the number of its employees stationed in Mexico will fluctuate as work demands. Armando Gallardo Jr., an RTKL vice president based in Dallas, will oversee the firm's role in the joint venture. RTKL will not initially base any of its own architects in Guadalajara, spokeswoman Ann Carper said.

Mr. Haglund says specific provisions of the free-trade deal, which has not been ratified by Congress, had little to do with RTKL's decision to find a partner in the Latin world. But increasing economic relationships between the two countries will spin off opportunities, he adds.

The Mexican government, from President Carlos Salinas de Gortari on down, is looking to beef up health care, Mr. Haglund says. "We have a solid health care market, so we're going to produce health care products down there," he said.

Mr. Haglund says the alliance will be ruled by consensus, with the two firms not pursuing business together unless both are in favor of a project.

Most of RTKL's Central and South American business will be run through the joint venture, but he would not rule out RTKL independently pursuing jobs in which GVA isn't interested.

County schools set to lease space

MacKenzie/O'Conor Piper & Flynn has announced the biggest pair of leases since the firm was formed last year, saying it brokered deals for the Baltimore County Board of Education to occupy 38,675 square feet of office space in Timonium and nearly 80,000 square feet of warehouse space in White Marsh.

The school board will move business and finance operations including budgeting and purchasing operations to a one-story office building at 1940 Greenspring Drive, MacKenzie/O'Conor Piper & Flynn Executive Vice President Robert J. Aumiller says.

The warehouse space, spread over two buildings in the Pulaski Business Park, will be filled by operations including a school bus repair shop, audiovisual aid repairs and a printing shop, Mr. Aumiller says.

The landlords in Timonium and White Marsh will be partnerships controlled by Woodlawn developer Leroy Merritt.

Mr. Aumiller says the warehouse operations will move to White Marsh from Cockeysville.

The leases, however, are for relatively short terms. The office lease is for three years; the warehouse lease is for five years.

RTC auctions in area raise $14.6 million

Last week's auction of 154 Washington-Baltimore area properties owned by the Resolution Trust Corp. raised $14.6 million toward the cost of the nation's savings and loan rescue, which is now estimated at $150 billion or more.

The auctions offered only a handful of commercial properties in Maryland, focusing mostly on homes that had been foreclosed upon by failed thrifts.

The RTC won't say who bought the local properties until the deals close. That will probably happen next month.

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