Developer to auction off Baltimore St. office site

August 17, 1994|By Timothy J. Mullaney | Timothy J. Mullaney,Sun Staff Writer

Prominent developer Henry Knott Sr. has put his only remaining local office building up for auction in a move that could help illustrate just how low the values of Class B office buildings have fallen.

Boston's Auction Co. will offer the American Building at 231 E. Baltimore St. for sale Sept. 29. The only tenant in the building will be a Roy Rogers outlet that pays $40,000 a year in rent. Its lease has two years remaining, plus a five-year option belonging to Hardee's Food Systems Inc., the parent company of the Roy Rogers fast-food chain.

The building is nearly vacant because state agencies are moving out as part of a consolidation into newly purchased state buildings, such as the William Donald Schaefer Tower at 6 St. Paul St. and the Shillman Building at 500 N. Calvert St.

"I think it's something the state and city should really look at," said R. Andrew Stafford, a vice president of Boston's. "You're a block away from City Hall."

The building is appraised at $1.2 million, but Mr. Stafford predicted the selling price will be "substantially less than that."

"It's being sold absolute," meaning the top bid gets the building, no matter how low the bid is, Mr. Stafford said. "It's a fairly significant commercial building in the heart of the financial district."

Mr. Stafford said Mr. Knott is selling because owning office space does not match the direction of Mr. Knott's other real estate efforts.

The 80,000-square-foot building was built in 1880 and was renovated about 1978. The auction offering booklet concedes that several floors of the building are either in poor condition or "untenantable" without "complete rehabilitation."

Dave Humphrey, a spokesman for Maryland's Department of General Services, which manages state government real estate needs, said the building used to house the state Public Service Commission and the People's Counsel office. Both are now in the Schaefer Tower.

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