Glencroft estate auctioned off to Baltimore lawyer


September 29, 1993|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Staff Writer

As some 80 onlookers and several serious bidders squinted into the midday sun yesterday, the 4-acre Glencroft estate in Ruxton was sold in a rare residential foreclosure auction for $1.16 million, far off the price many predicted the stately property would bring.

After ushering BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes onto the expansive grounds, then taking bids for an hour, auctioneers working for Mercantile-Safe Deposit & Trust Co. sold the five-bedroom Colonial replica mansion to a Baltimore attorney and his wife.

One of Baltimore's biggest residential auctions attracted far more curiosity seekers than bidders. Gardens, an orchard and carriage house surround the 1933 mansion, modeled after a home George Washington built at Mount Vernon for his daughter.

Peter Kandel, an attorney with Nelson Kandel & Associates, and his wife, Marian, bought the entire property, the lot with the house and an adjacent lot with a swimming pool. They had searched for a home in the area for a couple of years, said Wendy Albert, an agent with the real estate firm of O'Conor Piper & Flynn.

Mr. Kandel was unavailable for comment.

"We think the price is reflective of the value," said Gilbert A. Schwartzman, senior vice president of Michael Fox Auctioneers Inc., which handled the auction. "We had all the elements here; [the auction] was well-advertised, well-attended, and there were a number of people bidding."

Ruxton real estate investor Lindsay Dryden Jr. stayed in the public bidding war until the offers topped $1 million.

"It's a beautiful piece of property," Mr. Dryden said.

For two hours before the auction, dozens of people strolled the grounds, including custom homebuilder Milo Heckler, who looked in awe at the intricately carved moldings.

... TC "You can't build a house like this today," said Mr. Heckler, president of Vermont Building & Development.

As auctioneers took the opening offer of $700,000 from among bidders gathered on the circular drive, former owners John J. and Virginia Neubauer and family members stood together among the crowd.

Mr. Neubauer said he took a second mortgage on the home in 1989, after Mercantile insisted he put an additional $1 million into two Eastern Shore businesses for which the bank had refinanced debt. Mr. Neubauer says the bank failed to live up to promises, took control of both companies -- a cannery and a packaging plant -- and caused them to go out of business. That left him owing the bank more than $1.3 million.

Executives for the bank declined to comment, saying they don't discuss client matters.

"We're disappointed in the price," Mr. Neubauer said. He and his wife spent more than $1 million remodeling and adding onto the house they bought in 1980, he said.

Mr. Neubauer had previously declined two offers of $1.5 million each, and some real estate agents had predicted Glencroft could bring up to $1.6 million at auction.

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