Price Co. changes mind on buying Colts land


The Price Co., which agreed last October to buy 38 acres of the Colts training complex in Owings Mills from Baltimore for $4.7 million, no longer wants the property and is suing the city for the return of its $712,500 escrow deposit.

According to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Baltimore Circuit Court, Price "has not satisfied itself with respect to the condition of the property, including zoning and related feasibility studies and other material issues."

A lawyer for the San Diego-based discount retailer, which operates the Price Club stores, said the sale contract approved by the Board of Estimates Oct. 24 allowed the company to void the contract unilaterally.

"The burden was on us to notify the city that the conditions were satisfied," said John H. Zink III, a Price attorney.

"We elected not to do that, so the contract was automatically terminated."

He declined to say why the company decided not to go through with the land sale or what conditions of the contract, if any, had not been satisfied.

The suit, which lists Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and the Baltimore City Council as defendants, accuses the city of breach of contract and seeks an injunction to force the city to return the escrow deposit, which it said was due Feb. 1.

John J. Hentschel, the city's real estate officer, said city officials believe the contract is valid.

"It's just a basic disagreement over whether they have complied with the terms of the agreement," Mr. Hentschel said.

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