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