The Emerson Mansion, a grand but dilapidated Reservoir Hill landmark built by the inventor of Bromo Seltzer, sold at auction today for $460,000 to real estate developers who intend to restore it. The Sellers Mansion, a grand residence in Harlem Park, failed to attract any bids and was withdrawn from the sale.
The two properties were among several dozen featured in an auction at the Radisson Hotel at Cross Keys. The sale was conducted by A. J. Billig Auctioneers and One House at A Time Inc.
The Emerson Mansion at 2500 Eutaw Place drew attention in part because of its connection to Captain Isaac Emerson, the Bromo Seltzer inventor who built it in the 1890s and lived there from 1895 to 1911. Bidding started at $10,000 and rose in increments to $460,000 level. The winning bidders were Matthew Herman, a principal of Barrus Real Estate Group of Baltimore, and Alan Pressman, the head of Reservoir Hill Quality Housing. Herman and Pressman declined after the sale to discuss their specific plans for the property, which is currently vacant and in need of renovation. But they said they hope to restore the property for uses that enable the public to have access. They said it may end up being a not-for-profit venture and they don’t yet know how much it will cost to restore.
“We plan to do a historic restoration, to bring it back to its original state,” Herman said “We can’t announce our plans for it yet, but we want it to benefit the neighborhood. We’re looking at it from a perspective of what is going to benefit the neighborhood. That’s our only interest…Our vision would be a project that would allow it to be accessible to the public. It’s an iconic building.”
Emerson built the Queen Anne Revival–style house after he made his fortune with Bromo-Seltzer, and he was the original resident. The brick structure rises three stories above a basement, occupies one-third of an acre and contains 15,600 square feet of space. It has a prominent turret, a covered front porch, large bow windows, dormers, and decorative window arches. It has been used both as a residence and as offices.
Herman and Pressman said they are restoring another historic property in Reservoir Hill at present, the former Ephraim Macht residence at 701 Druid Park Lake Drive. They said the two properties are both associated with prominent Baltimoreans and they see them as “bookends” for the Reservoir Hill historic district.
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