Estimates board OKs sale of land to Afram for $1

Baltimore City/county

November 04, 1999|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

Despite questions raised by the city's real estate officer, the Board of Estimates approved a Housing Department plan yesterday to sell a Reisterstown Road property to Afram Inc. for $1.

Afram Inc., which holds festivals in the city, plans to build a two-story office building on the site in the 5400 block, for its operations and to lease it to third parties. If the building is sold in the next 10 years, the city would receive $10,000 in net proceeds.

City real estate officer Anthony J. Ambridge told the board that he does not believe the deal was in the city's best interest. He said the city should receive a greater share of the profits from the property and not simply give Afram Inc. the land for almost nothing.

"If there is any profit, we should share in those profits," he said.

The board approved the land sale contingent upon a profit-sharing agreement between Afram Inc. and the city.

Ambridge's criticism came yesterday after the board approved the financing of a $3.9 million townhouse development in Northwest Baltimore that will receive a quarter of its funding from city taxpayers.

Millennium Community Development Corp. plans to construct 32 townhouses in the 4800 block of Poe Ave. As part of the project, the developer asked the estimates board for financing that included $2.8 million from the Community Development Financing Corp. and $960,000 in city tax dollars.

Community activist Roberto Marsili criticized city officials for supporting the project, saying that city money should not pay for such a project.

"I object to using close to $1 million of city tax money," Marsili said.

The development will include three- and four-bedroom townhouses with one to two-and-a-half baths, a driveway, garage and in some cases a basement.

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