City to buy former Signet center, convert it into new police academy With garage, complex will cost $2.25 million

February 21, 1996|By Eric Siegel | Eric Siegel,SUN STAFF

Baltimore is buying a vacant bank building downtown to be used as the new site of its police training academy.

The city is buying the old Signet Bank Operations Center and an adjacent parking garage at 210-220 Guilford Ave. for $2.25 million to house its Police Academy, documents show.

The academy has to vacate its current site at the former Colts football complex in Owings Mills so that the complex can be prepared for the interim use by Baltimore's new National Football League team.

The five-story bank building and the 300-car garage, which have an assessed value of $4.9 million, have been on the market for a little more than a year, with an original asking price of $3.9 million.

Settlement is scheduled by April 1, pending a favorable inspection.

During March, the city will lease the property from Virginia-based Signet Bank for $29,315.

The sale and the lease are expected to be approved at today's meeting of the Board of Estimates, the five-member panel of top Baltimore officials that acts on all city contracts.

Last month, the city narrowed its choices to the Signet center and the former Waverly Press building in East Baltimore.

Police officials considered the Signet center "the preferred choice because it doesn't require any major renovation work," said police spokesman Sam Ringgold.

He mentioned the center's proximity to police headquarters about five blocks away on East Fayette Street and the availability of parking as other advantages.

The academy trains 200 to 300 police recruits each year and provides annual training for the department's approximately 3,000 officers.

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