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Auction for historic Trentham Mansion canceled

Update June 26, 12:30 p.m.: Representatives for seller Kevin P. Welsh said he is negotiating a private sale and canceled Thursday's auction. Agent Scott Frank declined to disclose the potential buyer before the deal has closed.

A Catonsville jeweler seduced by the beauty of a 19th century mansion is to sell the Owings Mills property at auction this week.

Kevin P. Welsh who bought the Trentham Mansion for $535,000 after an auction in 2006, said he has sunk $1.3 million into restoring the elegant stone house, which dates to around 1860.

“I felt a desire and a calling to save a piece of American history,” said Welsh, 50, the owner of Welsh International. “I was going to follow my heart. As far as what came after, it was finished and it’s time for a new chapter.

It’s not the first love story associated with the eight-room Italiante Federal mansion, which sits on part of a 170-acre tract given as dowry to the Rev. Thomas Cradock in 1746.

Cradock, who was educated at Eton and Cambridge, reportedly came to the colonies after falling into doomed love with a relative of his patron. Cradock’s son had his engagement fall through when he failed to support his future father-in-law’s candidacy for the Bishop of Maryland and never married.

The estate stayed in the family until 1960, but shortly thereafter was sold to development interests. Once owned by a nearby development and converted to offices in the 1980s, today it sits on .75 acres, and is surrounded by apartments and townhomes.

“It’s certainly a diamond in the rough,” said Welsh, who lives in Harbor East and controls the property through an LLC.

When Welsh purchased the property it was in need of major restoration, he said. It was home to Trentham Mansion Baltimore Wellness Services, which offered holistic healing, but the business and other tenants departed as work got underway.

The house contains two full apartments with modern kitchens and over 6,000 square feet of additional rental space. The grounds include a patio, an octagonal bathhouse – once the site of tubs made from Nicaraguan mahogany --  and a smokehouse, where Welsh found the original hooks for the meat still hanging from the beams.

“As a jeweler and perfectionist I did everything 110 percent,” he said. “I had idea it would take this long. I had no idea it would take this much money. Now I’ve saved the property and it has endless possibilities.”

Welsh, who said he had planned to sell the property and is hoping to recoup the money he spent on repairs, placed it on the market for about six months, before deciding its unique character warranted a more high-profile, wide ranging sales technique.

About seven groups have expressed serious interest so far, according to Scott Frank, agent for Alex Cooper Auctioneers, Inc.  In addition to the building repairs, Welsh also lobbied for less restrictive zoning. The building, which comes with 25 parking spots, can be used for medical offices, mixed-use, multi-family, child day care, a Bed & Breakfast or Inn, or restaurant.

The auction will be held on the grounds at 135 Village Queen Drive at 11 a.m. June 26. The opening bid starts at $750,000 and interested parties must come with a $50,000 certified check. A third and final open house was held Saturday June 21 from 1-3 p.m.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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