City to sell long-vacant police station
Baltimore will sell a long-vacant police station in Fells Point to a company that intends to develop the property into 30 condominiums, according to the terms of an agreement approved yesterday by the city's Board of Estimates.
The city has agreed to sell the site, at 1621 Bank St., for $584,300 -- far below its $1 million appraised value. City officials said the developer will invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove asbestos, lead paint and other environmental hazards.
Most of that purchase price will also be deferred by the city until the completed condominiums are sold, according to the board's agenda.
A Department of Housing and Community Development spokeswoman said the city often agrees to sell property for less than the appraised value if the building is in poor condition. Appraisers could not inspect the inside of the building because of safety concerns.
The project is being developed by Fells Point Station, a company whose principals include Daniel P. Henson III, the former city housing commissioner, and A. Rod Womack, the chief executive officer of developer CIMG Inc.
CIMG has given nearly $6,000 in political contributions to city officials in recent years, including to Mayor Sheila Dixon and Gov. Martin O'Malley. Henson has given more than $3,000 to city officials since 2006.
CIMG, according to its Web site, also employs Catherine Fennell as its chief development officer. Fennell stepped down as the city's director of development in 2000 after stories revealed she was simultaneously working for a developer that had business before her agency.
Womack and Fennell did not return calls seeking comment yesterday.
City Hall evacuated as smoke fills area
Baltimore City Hall was evacuated yesterday afternoon after the first floor filled with smoke from a malfunctioning electrical panel, a city fire official said.
Police officers who work security in the building detected the smoke about 2:45 p.m., sounded the alarm and began clearing the building, according to Chief Kevin Cartwright, a Fire Department spokesman.
He said reports from the scene indicated that the panel was smoking, but not on fire. Mayor Sheila Dixon was not in the building at the time, said her spokesman, Sterling Clifford.
Gus G. Sentementes