187 condos auctioned at Reisterstown complex


More than half the condominiums at The Gardens at Owings Mills in Reisterstown were sold on the auction block yesterday for a fraction of the $16 million debt held against the property.

Mount Vernon Properties, a partnership that includes Dr. Charles C. Edwards, a Baltimore physician, as one of its principals, bought 187 units in the 330-unit complex for $2.15 million.

"This is bargain time," the auctioneer said repeatedly before the gavel fell for the final time under the green-and-white tent that was put up by Michael Fox Auctioneers Inc. to create a festive atmosphere.

"We were actually very pleased with the results of the sale. We think basically the property sold for what we think its market value is," said Shaun F. Carrick, attorney for Daiwa Bank Ltd., the U.S. subsidiary of the big Japanese bank.

Daiwa, which did not bid at yesterday's auction, holds roughly half the $16 million in debt against the property, Mr. Carrick said. The otherhalf is held by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which acquired it after taking over the now-defunct Capitol Bank & Trust Co. of Boston, he noted.

The lenders on the 187 garden condo units began foreclosure proceedings against the property owner, Northwest Properties Co., after the debts against the real estate went sour. Yesterday's sale is subject to ratification by the Baltimore County Circuit Court, said Gilbert A. Schwartzman, senior vice president of Michael Fox Auctioneers.

The 20-year-old apartment complex, off Interstate 795 near the Franklin Boulevard exit, was converted to condominiums beginning in 1987, Mr. Schwartzman said.

Northwest Properties purchased 187 of the units with the intention of renting them and had done so, he said.

Northwest Properties is a general partnership whose principal, Mikhil Gissin, is based in Boston, Mr. Carrick said.

Yesterday's successful bidder, Mount Vernon Properties, has beenactive in residential real estate at Baltimore-area auctions in recent months. In January, it spent $1.6 million at auction for Sorrento Run, a 69-unit luxury housing project on Falls Road in Brooklandville.

In February, Mount Vernon made another auction purchase, spending $2.55 million for 30 acres of prime residential property north of the city line known as Cloisters at Charles. That auction followed a default by the developer, Faust Homes Inc., on a $4 million loan secured by the land.

Dr. Edwards of the Mount Vernon partnership declined to comment yesterday regarding the purchase of The Gardens at Owings Mills. The auction included 77 one-bedroom units, 82 two-bedroom units and 28 three-bedroom units. The average price per unit was $11,497, less than one-fourth the price that many individual buyers of the condos have spent.

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