Bank enters highest bid in foreclosure auction


A five-story masonry building at 217 N. Charles St. was sold at public auction yesterday to Sovran Bank of Maryland, which had foreclosed on the commercial property earlier this year.

The structure -- its lower facade and display windows removed and replaced by sheets of green plywood -- brought only two bids from the half-dozen people who gathered on the sidewalk in the 95-degree heat.

The sale was completed in less than two minutes after auctioneer Paul Cooper, of Alex Cooper Auctioneers Inc., read off the terms and conditions of the sale.

Mr. Cooper accepted a bid for $600,000 from the bank's representatives.

Stephen A. Goldberg, an attorney who represented Sovran Bank, said that no decision has been made about what the bank will do with the property.

The building was being renovated by North Charles Limited Partnership, a group headed by developer David Kornblatt.

Renovation was halted abruptly when the developers experienced financial difficulty.

The street-level story had been gutted. The ceiling was gone, leaving exposed rafters with electric cables hanging down. The interior walls were gone, and there was a pile of plumbing pipes resting in one corner next to cardboard boxes of new plumbing fixtures.

The developers owed Sovran more than $1 million from a delinquent mortgage on the building, which is located between East Lexington and Saratoga streets.

Mr. Kornblatt, a fixture in the area's real estate scene for nearly 30 years, sought Chapter 11 protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code last April for the David Kornblatt Co.,a commercial real estate brokerage and property management firm.

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