Maryland OKs purchase of Shillman Bldg. $3.5 million paid for Baltimore site

August 12, 1993|By David Conn | David Conn,Staff Writer

The state of Maryland continued its shopping spree of downtown office buildings yesterday by approving the $3.5 million purchase of the Shillman Building on North Calvert Street.

The three-member Board of Public Works, after some intraboard squabbling over the price, voted 2-1 to buy the 19-year-old building from its owner, Haron Dahan, a Harford County homebuilder. State Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein cast the dissenting vote against Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Treasurer Lucille Maurer.

The Department of General Services, which negotiated the purchase for the state, plans to move a Department of Human Resources agency -- the Office of Child Support Enforcement -- into about 58,000 square feet of the 91,380 square feet of usable space in the building.

The entire building, which is located at 500 N. Calvert St., is 160,000 square feet.

Yesterday's action follows by five months an agreement to pay $12.2 million for the 28-story 6 St. Paul Centre. Governor Schaefer has pushed to convert as many lease arrangements into purchases, both to save the state rental money over the long run, and take advantage of the depressed prices of the city's commercial real estate market.

The Shillman Building last housed an operations center for the now-defunct Baltimore Federal Financial savings bank. It also has a 175-space, 1 1/2 -story parking garage.

The building needs less than $1 million of repairs and renovations initially, and probably about $4 million during the rest of its usable life, according to DGS.

General Services Secretary Martin W. Walsh produced two appraisals at yesterday's meeting, one for $3.7 million and the other for only $2.2 million.

"How can you justify that big a difference?" asked Mr. Goldstein. He suggested the price was far too high, given the building is only "Class C," as he called it, and had been on the market since it was sold in 1991 for $1.7 million.

But the building, first used as a warehouse for the Shillcraft Co., was assessed recently at $3.6 million. Mr. Walsh told the board that the lower appraisal was flawed.

In the meantime, the state expects to save at least $1.2 million a year in rent that the Child Support office and other agencies would have had to pay. Also, the Social Security Administration is leasing 9,170 square feet in the building, which will earn the state $1.28 million a year for as long as the agency remains. It has an option to move out in January 1997.

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