When the last stretch of the Baltimore Metro — between Charles Street Station and Johns Hopkins Hospital — was approved for construction in the 1980s, the city inked an agreement with the state, which granted the deed to allow the tunnel to be built.
That part of the tunnel, known as Section C, opened to Metro riders in 1990.
But the deed for the Shot Tower Metro station and the underground land easement, “although executed, was never recorded and subsequently the original Deed was lost,” according to the city Board of Estimates.
It’s unclear how the deed got lost, but the legal document that reflects the formal transfer of ownership was forgotten for years.
The mistake went undiscovered until this year, during the construction of the new Ronald McDonald House at 1 E. Aisquith Street, when the city Law Department realized the deed to the nearby tunnel was missing from the record, said City Solicitor Andre Davis.
“Something got misplaced and [the mistake] was discovered 30 years later,” Davis said. “I’ve seen a lot of weird real estate things go on, but this was very interesting.”
The discovery prompted the city Law Department and Maryland Transit Administration to amend the nearly three-decade-old agreement to fix the situation.
The city incorporated the Shot Tower station property into the underground easements, and the city Board of Estimates recently approved the amended agreement to grant the easements officially to the state. The state Board of Public Works is expected to approve the deal as well, finalizing the fix. No money changed hands.
But it raises the question: Did the city comptroller’s office and the Department of Housing and Community Development — which gave up the title to the land in the amended deal — unknowingly own part of the Metro Subway tunnel all this time?
“I would say the ownership was shared,” Davis said. “It’s now all been fixed, and the state and the city are friends again. Good lawyer work, in other words.”
Despite the deed not being recorded, spokeswoman Veronica Battisti said the ownership of that part of the tunnel belonged to the MTA.
“MDOT MTA and Baltimore City are working together to ensure the public record reflects the correct ownership,” Battisti said in an email.