Bid for Tower site prompts talks


June 15, 1994|By Timothy J. Mullaney | Timothy J. Mullaney,Sun Staff Writer

The fate of the Tower Building site in downtown Baltimore is still up in the air as its owners continue talks with an unidentified bidder who offered more than $2 million for the three-fifths-acre parcel.

The site, at Guilford Avenue and Baltimore Street, was the highest-profile property offered in last week's regional commercial real estate auction conducted by Michael Fox Auctioneers of Pikesville and Columbia-based Manekin Corp.

The Tower site is one of six properties offered in the June 7 auction where talks between owners and bidders are continuing. Overall, five of the 24 properties on the block drew bids high enough to commit both sides to completing the sale. Seven drew no bids, and five drew bids that have been rejected by the owners.

The last auction lot was a set of office condominiums in Prince George's County that drew different bids; some of them are firm deals while others are still the subject of negotiations, said Joseph Callanan, Manekin's director of investment services. Mr. Callanan coordinated much of his firm's work on the auction.

None of the bidders has been identified publicly.

"We are continuing to negotiate," Richard Alter, president of Manekin Corp., said of the Tower site, which is owned by an investor group that includes members of the Manekin family, one of the area's most prominent developer groups.

The problem is that the Manekin group specified a minimum bid of $2.63 million for the site, which is now a parking lot. But the high bid was $2.215 million, leaving the owners with someone to negotiate with but not a firm deal.

"We won't do it for $2.215 as of last Friday," Mr. Alter said. "Our asking prices and their offer are not together."

Mr. Alter said Manekin will know some time in the next month whether the Tower site will sell.

Investors led by Zell Hurwitz, meanwhile, have rejected an $800,000 offer for an empty nursing home building in Bolton Hill and a $750,000 offer for an office building at Charles and Franklin streets. Other owners have rejected bids for a piece of land in Owings Mills zoned for apartments, a piece of land rented by a car dealership on Belair Road, and a small office building at 10 W. Chase St., Mr. Callanan said.

Mercantile-Safe Deposit & Trust Co. is still considering whether to accept bids on two Columbia office buildings, the Clark Building and the Commerce Building, that also drew bids below the reserve price, Mr. Callanan said.

Kenny Rogers chain chooses Ellicott City

The Chicken Has Landed: Kenny Rogers Roasters, the Florida chicken restaurant chain that plans to open 15 to 20 restaurants around Baltimore by next year, has chosen a location in Ellicott City for the first branch of its expansion.

The store will be in the old Safeway building at U.S. 40 and TC Centennial Lane, said Philip C. deMena, real estate vice president for the Fort Lauderdale-based company.

The company is looking for locations in most of the major Baltimore suburbs, with less emphasis on the east side, said Mr. deMena and Andrew G. Segall, a real estate broker with Trout, Segall & Doyle of Baltimore, which is representing the restaurant chain.

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