Auctions offered as selling tool

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Working with Melvin Epstein and Son Auctioneers, Prudential Preferred Properties is offering to hold auctions as a marketing option, along with the company's traditional marketing and sales methods.

The arrangement marks one of the first times in the Baltimore metropolitan market that a broker has been able to offer auctions as one of its services. Real estate broker Otis Warren said this spring that his firm also plans to offer auctions.

The advantage of having a broker offer auctions, brokers say, is that the property and its seller benefit from the broker's multiple-listing system before the auction.

"Auctions have traditionally provided unique benefits to sellers," said Carole Greenwald-Ryan, Prudential's president. "They are usually faster than a traditional sales method and help the seller get a settlement in a very expedient fashion. Additionally, auctions may offer the seller considerable financial benefits."

Mark Epstein, president of Epstein and Son Auctioneers, said auctions should not be regarded as viable only for distress situations.

"Owner's auction sales are becoming much more popular in today's market," he said. "Auctions are now becoming widely accepted throughout the country as a quick way of selling a property. Our special programs also minimize the sales commission paid by the seller, making it even more attractive."

In Prudential's Auction Advantage program, sellers can choose an "auction with reserve," in which the seller reserves the right to reject the highest bid; an "absolute auction," which obligates the seller to take the highest bid; or an "absolute auction subject to a minimum opening bid," in which the seller publishes the lowest acceptable bid before the sale.

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Groundbreaking ceremonies will be held today from 4 p.m. to 7 for the Cattail Creek Country Club, the first member-owned golf course in Howard County.

The centerpiece of the $9 million-to-$10 million project is a 6,800-yard, par-72 championship golf course straddling Route 97 the Glenwood section of west-central Howard County. The site is 15 miles north of Olney and four miles south of Interstate 70.

In conjunction with the Sycamore Valley Limited Partnership, a real estate development firm, 120 acres of the site have been set aside for 40 residential lots. Eight of the lots already have been sold. Prices start at $220,000 for lots with at least three acres. American Properties Inc. of Howard County is handling the lot sales. The golf course is scheduled to open in early 1993.

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Around the region:

* Fifteen luxury condominiums were sold at auction this month at the South River Condominium complex in Annapolis for a total of $2.13 million. Sheldon Good & Co. held the auction, which drew more than 200 people. Prices ranged from 40 percent to 50 percent of the original asking prices. Good is still handling sales for the project, at 930 Astern Way in the adult community of Heritage Harbour.

* Baltimore's housing department has set Sept. 6 as the deadline for bids from groups interested in developing town houses for sale on 14,389 square feet at 800-826 W. Pratt St. in the Mount Clare Urban Renewal Area. More information is available from Angelo Hernandez in the housing department's land disposition section at 396-4124.

* The Cardinal Shehan Center began construction last month on a 92-bed addition to the Stella Maris long-term care facility at 2300 Dulaney Valley Road in Towson.

Called the Marion Burke Knott Wing, the building is the first phase of a $12.2 million construction and renovation project.

* Sales have topped 100 at Piney Orchard, a 2,000-acre development that opened its sales center in May. Builders include Ryan Homes, Troutman Communities, Landmark Homes and Cornerstone Homes.

* Union Memorial Hospital has purchased a four-story, seven-unit apartment building at 301 E. University Parkway for $450,000 to house members of its nursing staff. Todd Morrill of Kayne Levin Neilson Bavar Realtors represented the buyer and seller.

* The former Midtown Nursing Home, a three-story building at 806 St. Paul St. in Mount Vernon, has been offered for sale for $650,000. Originally built to house the American Grand Lodge of the Sons of Italy, the building contains more than 20,000 square feet of space and is zoned for office or residential use. Marcia Barr of SBE&R; Real Estate Services is handling the sale.

* Florence Crittenton Services of Baltimore Inc. began construction last month on a $2.5 million dormitory at 3110 Crittenton Place in Baltimore.

It will house approximately three dozen teen-age girls who have been sexually or physically abused or neglected, or who otherwise cannot live with their families.

Sulton Campbell Britt Owens Associates was the architect, and James Ancel Inc. is the contractor.

* The Baltimore division of Latimer & Buck, a subsidiary of Legg Mason Inc., has arranged a $6.4 million permanent loan for the Elkridge Corners Shopping Center at U.S. 1 and Montgomery Road in Howard County.

Developed by L&M; Associates of Baltimore, the 74,000-square-foot center opened in December and is nearly 100 percent leased. Latimer & Buck arranged financing through Provident Mutual Life Insurance Co. of Philadelphia.

* Courtyard Hotels, the moderatedly priced hotel chain of Marriott Corp., opened a 152-room hotel last month at 6301 Golden Triangle in Greenbelt.

* Brown & Craig, a Baltimore-based design firm, has been hired to design two retail projects in the Baltimore area: a 280,000-square-foot project for Lerner Development Corp. called Annapolis Harbour Center and the renovation of the 700,000-square-foot Westview Mall in Baltimore County for Balcor Development.

* CB Commercial Real Estate Group has appointed William S. Roohan vice president of its Baltimore office. Mr. Roohan specializes in the sale of apartment properties and has sold more than $150 million worth of them in the past eight years.

* Donna M. Creedon has been named development manager at Oak Contracting Corp. in Baltimore. D. Scott Peterson has been named project manager for the same company.

* The Upper Chesapeake Health System broke ground July 15 for Harford County's first cancer-treatment center at the Riverside Medical Park in Belcamp. The 5,000-square-foot Upper Chesapeake Oncology Center is scheduled for completion in October.

* Frederick Contractors Inc. has been named the low bidder for construction of a 4,020-square-foot addition to the Washington County Sanitary District's administrative office building in Williamsport. Work will be complete in January.

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