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Paul Cooper, of Alex Cooper Auctioneers, solicits bids for the Westport Waterfront property on Wednesday.

Lender takes Westport property at auction

The note holder for the Westport Waterfront property held on to the property after bidding $6 million at auction on Wednesday.

On a frigid morning in front of the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse in downtown Baltimore, there was only one bid submitted, and it came from the property’s lender — Westport Property Investments. The company made its bid, and when Paul Cooper, of Alex Cooper Auctioneers, asked if there was a bid for $6.25 million no one responded.

Timothy McCormack, an attorney at Ballard Spahr LLP, confirmed he was there to represent the lenders and declined to comment further. It’s unclear who is behind Westport Property Investments, which bought $32 million of the property’s debt from Citigroup Global Markets Realty Corp. last year.

The 43-acre property, which is subject to a planned unit development, was the home for a planned $1.2 billion mixed-use development on the city’s southern side, off the Middle Branch River. But plans for that project fell through following the 2008 economic collapse.

Since then, project developer Patrick Turner and his lenders have been involved in protracted negotiations and litigation. Citigroup Global Markets Realty Corp. initially filed for foreclosure because of inactivity in late 2012.

An auction scheduled for March was canceled by a last-minute bankruptcy filing. A previous auction schedule for February of 2013 was also eventually canceled.

Although there are rumors circulating about the property’s future, it’s not known what will become of it.

Last spring elected officials, such as Councilman Edward Reisinger, who represents the area, expressed frustration that the project had sat undeveloped for years. He said he just wants it to move forward.

“The only thing I’m looking at is for this to go to bed. You know what I mean? So we can go ahead and develop Westport because it has been too long,” Reisinger said.

About Adam Bednar

Adam Bednar covers real estate and development for The Daily Record.