Va. company, investor buy downtown building

10 E. Baltimore St. is sold for $16.4 million

September 29, 2004|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,SUN STAFF

A Virginia real estate company that bought a high-profile downtown Baltimore office tower last year has made another purchase in the city, a more modest 16-story red brick and glass building at Baltimore and Charles streets, the company said yesterday.

Harbor Group International LLC of Norfolk, Va. and an unnamed institutional investor purchased the 168,400-square-foot 10 E. Baltimore St. building for $16.4 million from ATAPCO Properties Inc., a division of the American Trading and Production Corp.

American Trading was formed in 1931 to handle the business activities of the Blaustein family, founders of the old Amoco oil company. Officers at ATAPCO could not be reached late yesterday.

Harbor Group announced the purchase in a statement yesterday. Executives of Harbor could not be reached for further comment.

The building sold for more than its assessed value of $11.5 million, according to state land records.

Harbor Group, which has been on a buying spree for years, plans more acquisitions in Baltimore, its statement said. Its first purchase in Baltimore was the $50.2 million Wachovia Tower on St. Paul Street in January last year.

The company paid $132 a square foot for that building, which real estate observers at the time called relatively high, especially in a weak economy. The building was one of a few premium properties in Baltimore and other cities that were selling for high prices because investors were looking for safe places to invest cash.

The Baltimore Street building, which sold for about $97 a square foot, is considered a Class B building. Such buildings typically command lower rents and offer fewer amenities than do their top-tier, Class A counterparts, such as the Wachovia Tower.

The Class B market in downtown Baltimore, which once had blocks of empty space, is tighter because several of the office buildings in the city have been converted to apartments.

"Ten East Baltimore Street has an excellent location and a strong tenant base," Jordan E. Slone, chairman and chief executive of Harbor Group, said in the statement yesterday.

"Such properties are a key component of Harbor Group International's acquisition strategy."

The building, built in 1973, is almost fully leased. Tenants include the state of Maryland, Alabanza Inc. and Parsons Engineering. Slone also noted as attributes the newly renovated lobby, 41 parking spaces for tenants and six spaces used by retail stores.

Harbor Group owns $900 million in properties in 14 states.

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