Residents of the 1,470 brick townhouses of Loch Raven Village say they are hoping for the best now that the 500-unit Loch Raven Village Apartments complex in their midst is up for sale.
The apartments have changed hands a number of times over the years, said real estate professional Leslea Knauff, who has lived in the village since 1975.
"We're waiting and watching and hoping the sale results in a good buyer," said Knauff. "It will be a huge investment for anybody who buys it. Nobody who does that will let the property run down."
The village lies on both sides of Loch Raven Boulevard south of Joppa Road.
The apartment buildings, built more than 60 years ago and adjacent to some of the village's townhouses, are located on the east side of the boulevard and have an office at 1711 Edgewood Road.
The 20-acre apartment complex was sold for $18.6 million during a foreclosure auction Aug. 10, but the buyer was Principal Financial Group — the insurance and investment company that holds the $29 million note on the property. Officials for Principal could not be reached for comment on the auction results.
The auction came after the Greenbelt-based Bozzuto Group and CBRE Realty Finance Holdings bought the complex in 2006 and renovated it. But Bozzuto, which has a 5 percent interest in the complex, and CBRE, which had a 95 percent interest, were not able to fill the complex by the time the loan came due this spring.
Auctioneer Jonathan Melnick, who returned deposit checks to two other potential bidders, predicted that the apartment complex would soon be sold by Principal.
Knauff attributed the auction to "a tough economy, not specifically the apartments themselves." She has talked to residents who live near the complex, she said, and they are generally pleased with conditions.
"We feel management has done a great job of maintaining the property," she said. "It looks better than some of the townhouses do because of the grounds crews."
"The owners we have now have done a great job," said village resident Wayne Skinner, a former Towson councilman.
Skinner had heard complaints in the past about student tenants and guests parking on neighborhood streets and taking up spaces, instead of parking in the apartment lots, but that's perfectly legal, he said.
"I haven't heard anything bad about the apartments recently," he said. "There are a lot of young families there now — that's a good thing."
The apartments have changed over the years, according to Loch Raven activist Donna Spicer. Tenants used to be young professionals and older people who had downsized to remain in the neighborhood.
Now, many of the tenants are students at Morgan State or Towson University, and lower-income families.
Spicer wonders whether Loch Raven will be able to compete with newer complexes that have been completed or are under construction in Towson. Many offer amenities such as pools, exercise rooms and concierge service.
But all those things mean higher rents, Knauff said. "If that's not in your budget, then this is a good alternative."