Though a final deadline hasn't been set, the Baltimore Corp. for Housing Partnerships, once considered the pre-eminent nonprofit housing force in the city, is preparing to turn over its properties to other parties and close its doors for good.
David F. Tufaro, chairman of the board of the housing corporation, said yesterday that plans have been made to "transfer our assets to appropriate parties."
"We don't have an absolute close-down date, but we have a plan in place to work toward that as quickly as we can," he said.
The corporation has struggled for more than 18 months to overcome serious financial problems.
The nonprofit corporation was set up more than a decade ago to promote private homeownership in Baltimore, but it has lost more than 50 properties through loan defaults and mortgage foreclosures. A year ago, state officials, noting the continuing financial problems, put the nonprofit on probation, effectively prohibiting it from undertaking new projects.
When it was created, the nonprofit focused on promoting private homeownership. It later expanded its scope to include development and management of major apartment projects. At its peak, the corporation had a contracting subsidiary and managed all of its own properties.
More than a year ago, however, it made a series of cutbacks, laying off many employees and put its 25th Street headquarters building up for sale. The office has since been closed, and the partnership has been working out of borrowed office space.
In the meantime, partnership officials have been trying to renegotiate with the state and two private lenders the terms of loans totaling about $7 million.
Tufaro said the partnership has about 350 rental units in the city. He said tenants should not be affected by the impending change in ownership. He noted that the corporation turned over the management of its properties to a private firm last year.
While working toward a shutdown, Tufaro said, the corporation has been striving to improve its operations so that the properties "can be turned over in a neat, clean package."
The partnership's properties include the 68-unit, four-story Everall Gardens, which opened last year and is fully rented, Tufaro said.
James Kelly, spokesman for the local office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said the official closing of BCHP would have little or no impact on HUD-aided projects because most of the corporation's duties have been turned over to others.
"Wherever they were, someone else has already taken over," Kelly said.
Officials of the state Department of Housing and Community Development said yesterday that they are not aware of any plans by the partnership to shut down. The state is one of the partnership's largest creditors.
Pub Date: 2/21/98