After repeated complaints of building-related illnesses at the Investment Building in Towson, county and state officials announced in February that 1,000 public employees would be moved. They looked at four possible sites and agreed on the Caldor store in Anneslie, in part to help a struggling shopping center on the city-county line.
While it is unclear when and how they became involved in the project, Sibel and Adler have made headlines before. Last fall, County Councilman Kevin B. Kamenetz rejected a zoning change that would have allowed the developers and their partners to build 250 luxury high-rise condominiums on cemetery property in Pikesville.
In an unusual glimpse into the high-stakes development world, Kamenetz went public with alleged threats made against him.
The developers indicated through emissaries, he said, that "if I don't do what they want, they will find someone to run against me in the next election, and finance their campaign. I view these actions as a clear political threat."
After learning from a reporter that Sibel and Adler were partners in the Caldor project, Kamenetz did not seem concerned. "There has been no information that has been brought to my attention that makes me question the propriety of this transaction," he said.
County officials say the purchase benefits taxpayers because the county is paying less than what two appraisers said a renovated building would be worth.
They also say that at $106 a square foot, the purchase price is cheaper than other comparable office buildings.