Angelos to purchase Towson office tower $14.5 million is price of 7-story base for county law practice

April 04, 1996|By Kevin L. McQuaid | Kevin L. McQuaid,SUN STAFF

Baltimore Orioles Chairman Peter G. Angelos has had much to celebrate this week: A victory under sunny skies in the baseball team's season opener and movement on a new base for his expanding law practice.

In the case of the latter, the attorney committed to buy a seven-story office building adjacent to his existing law offices in Towson for roughly $14.5 million, a deal that seller Aetna Life Insurance Co. agreed to hours before the Orioles defeated the Kansas City Royals 4-2 before a sellout crowd on Tuesday.

Eventually, the Court Towers office building likely will serve as the main location for Mr. Angelos' Baltimore County law practice, consisting of three offices and more than 20 lawyers.

"We consider Court Towers to be the premier professional office building in Baltimore County, both architecturally and because of its strategic location," Mr. Angelos said yesterday. "As space becomes available there, we'll expand our Baltimore County and metropolitan area office into it. And it's an excellent investment vehicle."

Mr. Angelos' firm is already a small tenant in Court Towers, a 132,000-square-foot building and eight-level parking garage completed in 1989 at a cost of $26.4 million. Other tenants in the nearly fully occupied building include law firm Whiteford, Taylor and Preston, Principal Financial Group and Alex. Brown Inc.

The 210 W. Pennsylvania Ave. project is projected to generate net operating income -- gross rental income minus expenses -- in 1996 of $1.8 million.

An Aetna spokesman said the closing of the transaction is scheduled for either May or June.

"Peter Angelos is a special purpose buyer," said Dennis P. Malone, a Colliers Pinkard principal representing Aetna in the sale. "He owns and is expanding out of the property next door, and he's already a tenant in the building. It makes sense."

Despite the county expansion, the attorney, who led a raft of investors in purchasing the Baltimore baseball club for $173 million, says he has no intention of leaving Baltimore City.

"Our main operation will stay downtown," Mr. Angelos said. "In fact, we're currently nego- tiating with the owner of a Class A office building to expand in the city as well."

The Angelos firm's main downtown operation is in a 20-story office tower owned by Rouse Co. at 300 E. Lombard St.

Mr. Angelos can use the extra space. In addition to ongoing work representing labor organizations and victims of asbestos exposure, the 70-attorney Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos has recently expanded its tax law and commercial and corporate law practices.

And last month the firm was tapped by the state attorney general to handle a lawsuit that Maryland expects to file against tobacco companies in an effort to recoup hundreds of millions of dollars in health care costs. The firm is expected to retain several new lawyers and support staff to manage the caseload.

As a result, Mr. Angelos' law practice is bulging from a 4,000-square-foot yellow house at 200 W. Pennsylvania Ave. that has housed his Towson practice since 1988, he said.

But Mr. Angelos will pay a premium for the elbow room. When Pinkard and Aetna brought the building to market, the asking price was $13.65 million.

Mr. Angelos, who declined to confirm his $14.5 million purchase price, was forced to offer more than Aetna originally sought because of intense interest in Court Towers, sources said. Mr. Malone acknowledged that Court Towers received nearly 20 bids.

Aetna acquired Court Towers for $11.8 million at a February 1993 foreclosure auction.

Pub Date: 4/04/96

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