Fate of Baldwin House discussed in private

June 03, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

Hagerstown elected officials discussed the future of the Baldwin House complex with local developer Don Bowman for an hour Tuesday afternoon behind closed doors.

After the meeting at City Hall Bowman would say only that he was interested in continuing to talk with city officials about developing the city-owned vacant complex at 32-46 W. Washington St.

"He's interested and we're certainly willing to work with him," said Councilman J. Wallace McClure.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said city officials have set a Sept. 1 deadline to decide the complex's fate. One option is demolition.

Bruchey said he didn't know if city officials would again advertise for potential developers or stay with Bowman for now.

"Don is the only one who has expressed an interest in what we need," Bruchey said.

Bowman proposed a project similar to one he proposed three years ago, Bruchey said. In 1995, Bowman proposed renovating the Baldwin House for retail shops, a restaurant and office space.


The previous administration decided instead to go with a group led by Baltimore developer Stanley Keyser. The group's plan was to turn the building into upscale apartments and retail shops.

That project fell through in the fall of 1996 when Keyser couldn't come up with the funding.

City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said the meeting was held in private because prospective businesses for the property were discussed.

Officials didn't discuss economic incentives, but that too is a conversation that could be held behind closed doors, Zimmerman said.

The last time the mayor and council discussed the Baldwin House publicly was May 5. At that time they said they would give Bowman the first shot at redeveloping the complex.

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