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December 13, 2010

Congress Financial looking to lease historic Marble Bar

The owners of the Congress Hotel are looking to lease the historic Marble Bar.

Congress Financial LLC., which just bought the hotel-turned-apartment building in September for $2.35 million, listed the bar Friday.

JBL Real estate, which is leasing the west side property, did not disclose how much it will charge to rent.

"We're looking for offers," said Henry Deford, a sales associate at JBL. 

In its heyday in the 70s and 80s, the Marble Bar was Baltimore's CBGB, hosting everyone from Iggy Pop to Thee Katatonix.

Before that, it was one of the city's great hotels when it was built in 1905. In 2001, it was converted to apartment units by an affiliate of developer Struever Bros., which spent $7.2 million to restore the building.

In February, the affiliate, Eccles & Rouse, defaulted on a $2.8 million loan, and the note was purchased by Congress Financial, a group of investors with roots in the area.

Congress Financial bought the property in September at auction

All 36 units in the building are currently leased as apartments. Deford said the new owners wanted to also revive the bar, which has been sitting vacant.

Deford said the cost to lease is negotiable. He did not want to disclose a minimum rental rate.

The bar, located on the basement of the Congress Hotel, is 6,000-square-feet, and comes with its namesake 70-foot marble bar.

The new manager would have to find a liquor license, buy it and apply to transfer it to the Marble Bar, as the bar hasn't had an active license in years, according to the Baltimore Liquor Board.  

 

marblebar.JPG

 

Any physical changes to the bar would have to adhere to the standards of rehabilitation of historic properties, according to the Maryland Historical Trust. 

Deford didn't know if the new managers would have to sound-proof the bar, or if apartment tenants would have to approve the bar's new hours of operations.

The property is at 306 West Franklin Street. The listing is here.

Photo: Marble Bar's August 1980 calendar Accelerated Decrepitude; center photo courtesy of JBL Real Estate.


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Posted by Erik Maza at 1:13 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Comments

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at erik.maza@baltsun.com. Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.
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