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| Image by normals.com

The building at the corner of 31st Street and Greenmount Avenue (3048 Greenmount Ave.) goes up for auction at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 29. This fact wouldn't be particularly notable in this era of wholesale foreclosures except that the building houses venerable used bookstore/subcultural center

and its performance-space offshoot

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, incubator for much of the city's experimental music community (including the

) over the past decade.

The property was acquired in a tax sale some two and half years ago by Property Homes LLC, sale agent Steph Campfield says in a phone interview, though the company only acquired the actual deed about two months ago. Rupert Wondolowski, one of the members of the collective than runs Normals and an occasional

City Paper

contributor, says that Property Homes offered to sell it to Normals before putting it up for auction, but that the asking price of $200,000 was too steep for the business, considering the repairs the building likely needs. (Campfield could not confirm a minimum bid for the auction.)

Normals has been a fixture in Charles Village/Waverly for 19 years and has occupied its current space at 425 E. 31st St. for more than a dozen years. Wondolowski says that no matter what happens at the auction, the store isn't going anywhere, at least for a while. Normals has a lease with Property Homes through March 2010. If it has to get out after that, Wondolowski says the business will move, and hopefully not far: "We'd love to stay in this area, but it'll be a question of finding somewhere suitable."

Campfield, who calls Normals "a Baltimore icon," acknowledges that a new owner could raise the rent or refuse to renew the bookstore's lease and redevelop the property. "What we're trying to emphasize to anybody [who expresses interest in the property is] we can't control what they do, but you don't disrupt a business like that," he says.

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