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May 12, 2011

Redwood Trust fails to sell at auction; downgraded to $800K

Redwood Trust, the historic downtown building that housed mega-club Palma and now Dubai/Velvet Rope, failed to sell at auction last week.

The building at 200 E. Redwood St., which had a starting bid of $1.2 million, received 11 registered prospects, according to Leo McDermott, who was handling the sale.

But, the offers were not acceptable to owner Nicholas Piscatelli.

Piscatelli has now extended the online auction by 30 days and slashed the starting bid to $800,000.

It's a dramatic retreat for the developer, who spent $2.5 million to renovate the building in 2000 and has been trying to get rid of it since 2004, when it was listed at $3 million.

When Piscatelli bought the building in 2000, the former home of the Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Co. branch, a beauty over 100 years old that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, had been abandoned for years.

His restoration received incredible attention, including several laudatory stories from this paper, and was deemed a turning point for downtown development.

But since his megaclub Redwood Trust closed in 2004,  Piscatelli has tried unsuccessfully to unload the building. While he's been trying to sell it, several tenants have filled out the space, including Palma and later the Velvet Rope and Dubai.

The $1.2 million he asked for last week had already cut the initial asking price in half. Now, the initial bid has been cut by $2.2 million, nearly as much as the developer spent to renovate the building.

McDermott insisted the first online auction gave the auction national exposure. But that the ownership has extended the auction "in hopes of generating more interest and competition." The property is listed at the Freedom Realty Exchange.

The building at 200 E. Redwood has had many names and owners over the last 100 years. Midnight Sun posted a brief history around the time Dubai was reviewed.  

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Photo: a party at Redwood Trust in 2003 (John Makely/Baltimore Sun)

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Posted by Erik Maza at 9:20 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, News


This doesn't make any sense. What is a "registered prospect"? The article states that bids were received-- but none of the bids were even for the minimum? Who would bid below a stated minimum? And presumably none of the bids were even for $800,000? Like I said, doesn't make sense.

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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 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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