Baltimore’s B&O Building could hit the auction block

Lender seeks permission to force property's sale
Thu, 11/04/2010

Another prominent Baltimore building could soon be sold at a foreclosure auction, adding to a swelling number of distressed commercial properties ranging from shopping malls and offices to hotels and vacant property.

Utah's Capmark Bank has asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Baltimore for permission to sell the historic B&O Building at 2 North Charles Street, where a Hotel Monaco opened in July 2009.

Capmark claims the building's owner, Baltimore & Charles Associates LLC, defaulted on a $47 million loan it took out to buy and renovate the former Baltimore and Ohio Railroad property.

Baltimore & Charles Associates filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July and listed more than $62 million in debts.

In court documents filed October 22, Capmark claims Baltimore & Charles Associates is not making enough money from the property to cover its costs. According to bankruptcy court documents, Baltimore & Charles Associates made $212,800 in September but posted a net loss of $183,300. Capmark also claims in court documents that the building is worth $29 million, or $18 million less than Baltimore & Charles Associates owes for the property.

Benjamin F. Miller, president of Philadelphia health care services firm Hospicomm, is listed as managing member of Baltimore & Charles Associates. He could not be reached for comment.

Annapolis lawyer Lawrence Joseph Yumkas, who is representing the firm, said he is planning to propose an alternative to selling the building that will let Capmark and its other creditors get paid at least a portion of what they are owed. Yumkas, of Yumkas, Vidmar, Sweeney & Mulrenin, LLC, declined to specify the terms of that proposal or to comment on Capmark's assertions.

The project's lead developer, Philadelphia-based Arc Wheeler LLC, was also planning to redevelop the former McCormick & Co. spice plant site at Conway and Light streets downtown. Susquehanna Bank planned to sell that property at a foreclosure auction November 5.

Baltimore Business Journal
by Daniel J. Sernovitz