Latest chapter in ex-hotel's saga

NIGHTSPOTS TO BE AUCTIONED

March 31, 1993|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,Staff Writer

Less than a year after Baltimore businessman Dion Dorizas reopened the Owl Bar and the 13th-floor lounge at the Belvedere Grand Condominiums in midtown Baltimore, the well-known nightspots are headed for the auction block.

Alex Cooper Auctioneers has set April 15 for an auction for the restaurant and bar, located in the 13-story building at 1 E. Chase St.

At the auction, scheduled to start at 10 a.m., Cooper also plans to sell the former John Eager Howard Room, now a nightclub called the Club Renaissance, and related fixtures and equipment.

The auction is a foreclosure sale on behalf of FMLC Inc. of Beverly Hills, Calif. The organization last year lent $535,000 to Metropolitan Realty Inc., a group headed by Mr. Dorizas.

In court documents filed in Circuit Court in Baltimore, attorneys for FMLC stated that Metropolitan has defaulted on the loan and owed $580,742.50 as of Dec. 22, 1992, with interest accruing at the rate of $178.33 a day.

Not included in the sale is the 12th-floor ballrooms and other catering facilities on the first floor of the former hotel. They are owned by a separate group headed by Tom Stuehler and are not the subject of foreclosure proceedings.

Mr. Dorizas could not be reached yesterday. Others at the Owl Bar declined to comment, except to say that facilities will be open for business as usual at least until the auction. If Mr. Dorizas satisfies his creditors before April 15, the auction will be canceled.

Earlier this month, Mr. Dorizas and two others applied to the city liquor board to transfer ownership of the liquor licenses of the establishments to an entity called Elan Food Services Inc. In documentsfiled with the liquor board, Mr. Dorizas is listed as president of Elan. Other officers of Elan are James Gouldmann and John Christopher Jett.

Also on file with the liquor board is a petition signed by 26 residents of the Belvedere who object to the proposed transfer. They contend in the petition that noise from the Owl Bar and Renaissance nightclub interferes with the "peaceful enjoyment" of their property and that the congregation of bar patrons in the common areas of the Belvedere violates the condominium's bylaws.

The liquor board is scheduled to hold a hearing on the transfer application and the residents' protest at 4 p.m. April 22 at City Hall Room 215.

The foreclosure proceedings are the latest chapter in the troubled history of the 90-year-old former hotel, which itself was put up for auction in early 1991. The restaurant spaces were closed on Jan. 1, 1991, after a Philadelphia bank initiated foreclosure proceedings against the former owner.

The building was eventually acquired by Belvedere Realty, an out-of-town group that converted it to 112 residences and has since sold all but five.

Mr. Dorizas bought the Owl Bar, the 13th floor and the John Eager Howard Room in early 1992 as commercial condominiums marketed by Belvedere Realty.

He reopened the Owl Bar and the Skyline Cafe in mid-April of 1992 and the converted John Eager Howard Room several months later.

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