Howard County government has signed an agreement to purchase the Belmont Conference Center from Howard Community College (HCC).
Negotiations regarding the historic Elkridge estate should be finalized within four months, the government announced Tuesday.
"The [purchase] agreement was fully signed on Sept. 7,'" wrote Kevin Enright, spokesman for Howard County government, in a written statement Sept. 20.
Within 90 days of the agreement being signed, the county will evaluate issues including operational feasibility, property condition and the environment, said Enright.
"The follow-up, in-depth studies will augment the findings of preliminary studies completed during the initial due diligence," said Enright, who declined to comment on initial findings.
"If the results of the study period are satisfactory, then settlement should occur within 30 days," said Enright.
The county would purchase the property from HCC for $89,000.
HCC, which bought Belmont in 2004, pronounced the estate out of business as of Jan. 1, 2011; ownership of the property was neither "economically viable" nor "fiscally responsible," according to the college's board.
Because Howard County provided a $2.2 million loan for HCC to purchase Belmont in 2004 and financed earlier renovations, the county's current outlay for the estate will cost $89,000, deducted from the land acquisition fund, said Enright.
It costs approximately $300,000 annually to maintain the 18th-century estate, according to Howard County officials who spoke about Belmont's future at the Greater Elkridge Community Association in May.
The purchase agreement process should be completed by the end of the calendar year.