Glass House bought by Paradiso's owner County also sells 3-acre lot in air business center

March 14, 1996|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

County government has sold the old Glass House building in Westminster to a local restaurateur and a lot in the county air business center to a local veterinarian.

The properties were sold Monday through Carroll's industrial development authority, a method that allows the county to bypass a requirement that it sell property only at public auction and instead market property directly to industries.

Sal Romeo, owner of Paradiso Italian restaurant in downtown Westminster, outbid one competitor for the Glass House at Locust Street and Distillery Drive, part of an old distillery complex that the county bought in 1991.

The 3-acre air business center lot that the county offered to manufacturers of an experimental aircraft in 1993 was bought by Dr. John Kable, one of three bidders for the site. Dr. Kable, a Westminster veterinarian, said he wants to build an animal hospital.

Authority Chairman Arthur H. Peck confirmed the sales but refused to release the purchase price. He would say only that Mr. Romeo's bid "was in excess of the appraisal," $63,000.

"It is fair to say that both Paradiso's and Dr. Kable's were the highest bids we considered for those two properties," Dr. Peck said.

The state Department of Assessments and Taxation valued the Glass House property at $50,840 and the air business center lot at $235,280.

Mr. Romeo was out of town yesterday and could not be reached for comment. He has said that if he acquired the property, he would move his restaurant to it.

"That building turning into hopefully a nice Italian restaurant would be a major improvement," said Westminster Councilman Stephen R. Chapin Sr.

Mr. Chapin, who has been active in downtown revitalization, said he tried unsuccessfully to persuade the previous Board of County Commissioners to sell the building to the city rather than continue to allow it to deteriorate.

James H. Dulany, president of the Greater Westminster Development Corp., predicted that the existing Paradiso site on Locust Lane "will probably be leased before he moves out" because it is close to Main Street and has adjacent parking.

Mr. Dulany said board members of the development group "feel his [Mr. Romeo's] acquisition couldn't be better for the community. He's established himself as a good businessman and restaurateur."

Sale of the air business center lot is contingent on Westminster zoning appeals board approval of an animal hospital on the site, Dr. Kable said. He said he doesn't know what his total investment will be.

The veterinarian said he and his partner, Dr. Margaret Knoll, need more space for boarding and examining rooms than their clinic at 719 Baltimore Blvd. can provide. "The facility we are in was not designed to be an animal hospital. This one will be," he said.

Pub Date: 3/14/96

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