Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Seven bidders competing for 'Maples' house

From the Voice of the Hill web site
Friendship House, a bankrupt social service agency once located on Capitol Hill, has received seven offers for the historic house it once called home.

The potential buyers are a “mix of local developers, nonprofits, and daycare operators,” said Lisa Benjamin, a commercial real estate broker with Newmark, Knight, Frank, who is handling the sale of "The Maples" at 619 D St. SE. Bids were being accepted through last week.

Benjamin said she couldn’t give specific details about the bids or who the bidders are. She did say that “nobody is proposing to make any changes to the exterior of the building.” The house was recently included in a list of the “most endangered” historic structures in the city by the D.C. Preservation League.

The group sought bankruptcy protection last June to forestall foreclosure proceedings by Adams National Bank, the property’s mortgage holder. Friendship House, which has occupied the storied Maples since 1936, stopped providing services last October and owes its creditors millions of dollars.

Benjamin said price would be “only one of the factors,” adding that ability to pay and timing of the proposed purchase are some of the many other factors that will determine who makes the short list and which proposal is ultimately selected. She said the board will “collectively select” the winning proposal and submit it to the bankruptcy court for approval.

At the preservation society’s announcement at "The Maples" last week, Hill resident Sonja Sweek identified herself as one of the bidders and said her plans for the 18th-century house included dividing it into a children’s daycare center, a doctor’s office and private living quarters for herself and her family.

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