New group takes over tower construction


One of the partners in the development team that announced plans in 1989 to build a 33-story office tower on the former News American newspaper-plant property has been replaced by a new group, but construction on the $155 million building is still scheduled to start as soon as a lead tenant emerges.

Lazard Realty, the real estate company that has been working with the Hearst Corp. and Nationale Nederlanden N. V. to develop the 700,000-square-foot project at 300 E. Pratt St., has been replaced by Schulweis Realty Co. of New York.

Harvey Schulweis, president of Schulweis Realty, was president of Lazard Realty until Jan. 1, when he formed his new company. He said Schulweis Realty has the same staff as Lazard and will be working on essentially the same real estate portfolio as Lazard Realty, including the Baltimore development.

Formed in 1978, Lazard Realty is an affiliate of Lazard Freres & Co., a 140-year-old investment banking company with offices in Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles. Lazard Realty Inc. was formed to serve as its diversified real estate investment banking subsidiary and for the past 12 years has been active in real estate investment, development, property management and portfolio management.

Mr. Schulweis said he has been a general partner of Lazard Freres for 19 years and is now a limited partner. He said he approached company officials about the idea of forming a new company to take over its real estate development activities and found them receptive. Under the agreement that took effect this month, Lazard Realty will technically continue to exist, but the bulk of its real estate development activities will be assumed by Schulweis Realty.

Mr. Schulweis said Lazard Freres agreed to the change because it is chiefly an investment firm and real estate development "was an area the firm did not want to stress." When the change took effect, all of the officers of Lazard Realty resigned and assumed new titles with Schulweis Realty.

At present, the Schulweis-Hearst group is paving the News American site to create a 190-space parking lot that will be operated until the group is ready to begin construction on the tower. Mr. Schulweis said the lot will open in about two weeks and that Edison Parking will be the operator. The group is ready to begin construction but doesn't think a lead tenant will emerge soon and is willing to wait until one does.

With the war in the gulf, the domestic economic situation and other changes, "there are enough distractions that I don't think anyone is going to make a decision in the near future," he said.

In addition to the downtown parcel, Schulweis Realty also is a co-owner of the 26 Town and Country apartment complexes containing 11,000 apartments in Maryland and southern Pennsylvania. Its partner is Alfred Lerner, chairman of MNC Financial Inc.


Around the region:

* Benjamin Thompson Associates, the architect of Harborplace in Baltimore, and Vickrey/Oresat/Awsumb Associates have been hired as the architects for a $70 million transformation of the Navy Pier in Chicago to a multifaceted "public activity center." The other finalists under consideration were RTKL Associates of Baltimore and Booth/Hansen Associates of Chicago.

* The Timonium Plaza Holiday Inn, a 250-room hotel at 2004 Greenspring Drive in Timonium, will be sold at an auction on the premises at 2 p.m. Feb. 1. The hotel is owned by Timonium AMI Limited Partnership. The auction, by Atlantic Auctions, is a foreclosure sale on behalf of First National Bank.

* A former Chevrolet dealership at 11825 Belair Road in Kingsville will be sold at a public auction on the premises at 2 p.m. February 7. A.J. Billig & Co. is the auctioneer.

* The George Hyman Construction Co. has been selected as the general contractor for the $140 million, 1.7 million-square-foot National Archives Building planned for 33 acres in College Park. Scheduled for completion in mid-1993, the building will be used to consolidate seven archival storage facilities in the Washington area.

* The Bel Air Athletic Club and Union Memorial Hospital will break ground Feb. 1 for an expansion of the athletic club and a Harford County branch of the Union Memorial Hospital Sports Medicine Center.

* Alex. Brown Kleinwort Benson Realty Advisors Corp. has purchased three industrial buildings containing 332,400 square feet of space in the Meadowridge Business Center in Howard County. Winchester Commercial and Crystal Hill Investments Inc. sold the buildings were completed last October. They are fully leased to Michelin Tire Corp. Jonathan Morris of Larson, Ball & Gould Inc. of Washington represented Winchester in the sale.

* The Rouse Co. is proceeding with plans to construct a fifth office building near Owings Mills mall. The Baltimore County Review Group is scheduled to review plans for the project on Feb. 7. Rouse plans to build more than a dozen office buildings around the mall eventually.

* Carey Winston Commercial Properties announced that $4.3 million in permanent financing was placed for Belt's Business Center Phase I, a 160,000-square-foot distribution warehouse at Dundalk and Folcroft streets in Baltimore. The borrower is Belt's Business Center Limited Partnership,and the lender is Lincoln national Life of Fort Wayne, Ind. The business center is fully leased to seven local and regional tenants.

* A. D. Lloyd and M. E. Lloyd purchased a retail center at 4045 to 4051 North Point Blvd. in Baltimore County. Sue-Lee Rogers of Latshaw Commercial Properties represented the seller, and Stanley E. Lloyd of Country Manor Realty represented the buyers.

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