Caves Valley Partners submitted the high bid in the auction of the Metro West complex last Wednesday.
Arthur Adler, partner at Caves Valley Partners, said the firm bid $7.1 million for the 1.1 million-square-foot complex on downtown’s west side that formerly housed the Social Security Administration.
“We were the high bidder, and we look forward to closing on the property,” Adler said.
He said the firm does not have concrete plans for what to develop at the site, but that it’s an “interesting property” with a variety of possible uses.
The U.S. General Services Administration opened 10 bids on the property, at 300 N. Greene St., on Jan. 27 after an online auction in August didn’t result in a buyer. At that time the government was seeking a minimum bid of $10 million.
Reaction to the news from business leaders in the city that Caves Valley Partners is the high bidder was positive.
“We’re thrilled to have the property in the hands of a responsible, experienced local developer. It will be exciting to see what’s next for Metro West as it is an important property bridging the west side of downtown and West Baltimore,” Baltimore Development Corp. President and CEO William H. Cole said in an emailed statement.
Kirby Fowler, president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, said he was glad to see the high bid was from a developer his organization has worked with previously.
The property is in solid shape and reuse is possible, Fowler said. Its office space could be attractive to firms that can’t afford leases on Pratt Street or Harbor East but still want to be near downtown.
Generally the Downtown Partnership encourages mixed-use projects, Fowler said, to correct what it views as errors made in downtown development in the past 50 years.
“We think that this site is primed for redevelopment,” Fowler said.
Caves Valley Partners has taken on a variety of local projects in recent years.
This fall, the company broke ground on the $350 million mixed-use Towson Row Development.
Towson Row plans calls for an office tower with 200,000 square feet of space, 100,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, including Baltimore County’s first Whole Foods, and 300 luxury apartments.
The firm is in the process of developing the $275 million mixed-use Stadium Square project in the city’s Sharp-Leadenhall neighborhood.
The project involves 300,000 square feet of office space, several hundred apartments and as much as 70,000 square feet of retail space.
Metro West’s location near the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s campus and Lexington Market make it a key asset in trying to redevelop downtown’s west side.
That portion of the city has been hit hard by disinvestment as the result of a shift in shopping habits and new office space luring tenants to other parts of the city.
But in the past few years the city has been aggressive about finding investors for properties in the area.
In August the city released a request for proposal for the 27 city-owned properties at Lexington and Howard streets, formerly called the Superblock.
The historic Lexington Market, a mainstay of the west side, is preparing to undergo a $26.7 million revitalization.