City seeks proposals for Harrison's Pier 5 hotel

June 02, 1994|By Timothy J. Mullaney | Timothy J. Mullaney,Sun Staff Writer

The city has asked for proposals from operators interested in managing the Harrison's Pier 5 hotel at the Inner Harbor, with a possibility that the winner could buy the 71-room establishment when the Christopher Columbus Center opens on Piers 5 and 6 in 1995.

"We had thought of not listing it for sale until the Christopher Columbus Center opens and the market is better," said Honora Freeman, president of Baltimore Development Corp. (BDC), the city government's economic development arm. But the corporation changed its mind after receiving a number of unsolicited proposals to buy or manage the hotel, she said.

BDC Executive Vice President Michael Seipp said there have been four proposals, all from smaller firms. He said larger hotel management companies have not been interested in the hotel because of its size.

The solicitation could result in more offers for the hotel and, presumably, the best available price. The city's request for proposals said offers are due June 15.

"Being in the hotel business is probably a function better performed by the private sector," Mrs. Freeman said. "We want to see if there are more efficient owners and operators out there."

The city has owned the hotel since last year, when it took control at a cost to taxpayers of $5.25 million.

Under an agreement approved by Baltimore's Board of Estimates, the city gave to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. $6 million of a $6.6 million municipal loan guarantee for the project in return for title to the property.

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