A 59-acre waterfront parcel in Port Covington that has long been eyed for development was bought for $35 million, the property's longtime owner announced Tuesday.
Bethesda-based Finmarc Management Inc. bought the property in 2005 with plans for an expanded shopping center that never materialized. Since 2002, the site has hosted a Walmart and former Sam's Club, which closed in 2008.
Finmarc identified the buyer as 2701 Port Covington Drive LLC, an entity created this month and represented by law firm Ballard Spahr LLP, according to state records. Two partners at the firm declined to comment.
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Finmarc managing director David Fink declined to name the buyer, but said he had not been actively marketing the property when he was approached about the sale.
We "had a meeting of minds and everything seemed to work out great," he said. "We felt we were getting great value for the property and it was an opportunity for us to diversify our investment.
"We're sorry to see the site gone, but it creates other opportunities for us."
The shopping center, which was developed by Connecticut-based Starwood Ceruzzi, was the city's first "big box" retail hub when it opened in the predominantly industrial area in 2001, but plans for other stores to join Walmart and Sam's Club never materialized. Subsequent plans for adjacent residential development were also dropped.
"It was always challenged as a retail site," said Thomas Maddux, a principal at commercial real estate firm KLNB. "Other retailers were concerned about access and visibility."
Walmart spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said the retailer has no plans to close.
"We hope that the new land owner is able to bring additional tenants and users to the waterfront," she said.
In 2007, Finmarc and Kodiak Properties LLC said they were looking for investors to develop a $2 billion community with homes, offices, shops and a hotel on the site. That same year, the city's Planning Commission adopted a master plan for the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River that called for land use changes to the entire Middle Branch shoreline, earmarking Port Covington as a high-density development area.
The parcel sits across from The Baltimore Sun's printing and distribution facility and next to another 10-acre waterfront property that belonged to Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse before it was sold in 2012 to 301 East Cromwell Street LLC at a foreclosure auction.