Columbia-based Corporate Office Properties Trust, which held a second mortgage on the property, acquired the tower and much of the surrounding land owned by Hale for $125 million.
Hale said the deal generated a $25 million profit for him. He also sold his contract to purchase the other 31 acres — now the site of the Shops of Canton Crossing — a transaction that netted him about $11.8 million after cleanup costs, he said.
Some of these gains contributed to the tax issues that caused Hale to leave the bank.
He still owns 2.78 acres in the area and said he's close to making a deal in the next week or so with a large company, which he declined to name, that could build 500 apartments. "Probably the last major development on the property," he said.
Dealings Hale has with the city aren't going as smoothly. He acknowledged that he has a poor relationship with the current administration at City Hall.
"I don't know why they are upset with me, but they are," he said.
"This administration supports anyone who wants to do business in Baltimore City," said Kevin Harris, a spokesman for the mayor. "As a businessman, Mr. Hale should understand that sometimes you have to tell people things they don't want to hear because it's the right thing to do, not because you have anything against them."
It probably hasn't helped that Hale's company, Arena Ventures, sued the city in March over nine billboards Hale put up about a decade ago at the downtown arena that once bore the 1st Mariner Bank name. (First Mariner decided not to renew its naming rights, and the venue is now called the Baltimore Arena.)
Hale claims the billboards belong to him; the city says it owns them.
The lawsuit continues. Though the city hasn't budged from its position that it owns them, it wrote a letter last month giving Arena Ventures the chance to "exercise its purported right of ownership" and remove the billboards and repair any damage they may have done to the building. If not, the city said, it might take the billboards down itself and charge Arena Ventures the cost of doing so.
Hale said he doesn't plan on taking the billboards down.
While the city was writing to Hale, his lawyer wrote to the city to express Hale's desire to buy the arena for a yet-to-be-determined price. Hale complained that it took more than a month to get a response.
Kaliope Parthemos, the city's deputy chief for economic development, said she only received the letter from Hale's lawyer on Monday and immediately responded.
"The arena is not for sale," Parthemos told The Sun. "If it ever becomes for sale, we will let him know."
The city is reviewing a Greater Baltimore Committee proposal to build a new arena that's connected to an expanded convention center, Parthemos said. Meanwhile, the city is happy with the arena's current manager and has renewed its contract, she said.
Hale said he has other investments to keep him busy. For example, he owns the national champion indoor soccer team the Baltimore Blast, which he moved to Baltimore County in February, citing his poor relationship with the city. The team still plays at the Baltimore Arena.
Hale remains the largest stockholder of First Mariner, whose shares traded at 98 cents per share on Thursday, with a nearly 12 percent stake.
First Mariner returned to profitability, although in the quarter ended in June it lost money as mortgage refinancings dropped while interest rates rose.
Hale said he would like the bank to move away from interest-sensitive mortgages to more predictable commercial lending.
"I would like to have some say in what's going on there," he said. "But I can't and I don't. Nor am I asked."