Possible buyer emerges for Brokerage complex


A possible buyer has emerged for The Brokerage at the Inner Harbor, the troubled retail and office complex that a Bank of America subsidiary purchased at a foreclosure sale in January.

M. P. Investments Inc., a Maryland corporation, signed a contract Sept. 4 to purchase the 278,000-square-foot complex at 34 Market Place, according to Charles C. G. Evans of Evans Land Company, the asset manager for the Bank of America subsidiary.

Mr. Evans said M. P. Investments now has at least four months to decide whether to move ahead with the acquisition of The Brokerage, which is in and around the block bounded by Market Place and Baltimore, Frederick and Water streets.

Completed in phases during the early 1980s but never fully occupied, the complex includes a two-level mall of shops and nightclubs stretching along Market Place between Baltimore and Water streets; a 276-car garage; two floors of office space atop the garage; a two-story building in the middle of Market Place; and an office annex at Baltimore and Frederick streets.

B. A. Properties I Inc., the Bank of America subsidiary, bid $8 million to acquire the complex in January, after the bank had said in court documents that it was owed $53 million by Sovereign Realty 1983-XVIII Limited Partnership of Philadelphia, the previous owner. When Sovereign filed for bankruptcy court protection more than a year ago, it made The Brokerage one of the largest and most expensive redevelopment projects ever involved in bankruptcy proceedings in Baltimore.

Mr. Evans said he was not at liberty to disclose the identity of the group that heads M. P. Investments or the price it agreed to pay, although he did say the group was represented by investment banker Richard Jacobs of Legg Mason Wood Walker. Mr. Evans said about 15 prospective buyers had expressed interest in the property since the January auction, and that the bank officials are pleased with the transaction.

"There has been substantial interest [in The Brokerage], and given the market conditions that all developers are facing, that bodes well for the Market Place corridor," he said. "I think the bank feels confident that the closing will occur."

About 45 percent of The Brokerage's 137,000 square feet of retail space is occupied, and about 51 percent of the 141,000 square feet of office space is occupied, Mr. Evans said. He said he expected the buyer to take ownership within six months.

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