Marketplace is given back to lenders

May 21, 1994|By Timothy J. Mullaney | Timothy J. Mullaney,Sun Staff Writer

The owners of Towson Marketplace turned the 541,000-square-foot shopping center over to their lenders yesterday, after talks aimed at redeveloping it instead of foreclosing it broke down.

Bramalea Ltd., the Canadian real estate company that owned Towson Marketplace, agreed to give it back to the Equitable Life Assurance Society of America in exchange for forgiveness on the property's $17 million mortgage. The debt had grown to $19 million because of missed interest payments.

Dane Hooks, senior operating officer for Bramalea's U.S. Properties Group, said an Equitable subsidiary will take over management of the center today.

"The transition, with respect to the tenants, should be smooth," Mr. Hooks said. "There shouldn't be any disruption at all."

Bramalea bought the center in 1981, when it was called Eudowood Plaza, and in 1983 announced plans to spend $9 million to turn it into a specialty mall for discount retailers.

The center is about 75 percent occupied, with major tenants including Marshall's, Montgomery Ward, Toys 'R' Us and Best Products.

But the center has always been hampered by an unusual site design that makes it nearly invisible from Joppa Road. Customer traffic has long been especially light in the interior stores.

An April 29 foreclosure auction was postponed until yesterday because the two sides were trying to work out a deal. Bramalea had said its officials hoped to restructure the debt and redevelop the center.

Yesterday's auction was canceled after those talks ended in the agreement to give the property back to Equitable.

Equitable officials couldn't be reached for comment yesterday.

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