First National buys Timonium Holiday Inn


A subsidiary of First National Bank of Maryland went into the hotel business yesterday, acquiring the 250-room Timonium Plaza Holiday Inn at auction for $8 million.

First National was the lender that began foreclosure proceedings last month against the hotel's owners, Timonium-AMI Limited Partnership, a group headed by New Jersey businessman Fred Lafer. Bank officials claimed Mr. Lafer's group defaulted on nearly $16 million in debt.

James Smith, an attorney representing the bank, declined to comment on the sale, which was handled by Atlantic Auctions Inc. Raymond Nichols, president of Atlantic Auctions Inc., confirmed that the bank subsidiary was the high bidder.

Although the sale still must be ratified by the Baltimore County Circuit Court, Mr. Nichols said the bank plans to keep the hotel open and has engaged the management company that has been operating the hotel to keep running it. "It will be business as usual, and any meetings or other events will go on as scheduled."

The five-story hotel at 2004 Greenspring Drive, which opened in

1982, has restaurants, an indoor-outdoor pool, an exercise room and more than 10,000 square feet of conference space.

Asked whether bank officials intend to seek a buyer for the hotel, Mr. Nichols said, "They haven't decided yet."

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