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Developer's plan razes 3 buildings for 'urban plaza'

September 14, 2000

Developer's plan razes 3 buildings for 'urban plaza'



By ANDREW SCHOTZ / Staff Writer


Developer Marc Silverman presented his plan Thursday to tear down three buildings on South Potomac Street and put up an 88,000-square-foot office building.

Silverman discussed the project during a Hagerstown Preservation Design District Commission workshop.

The commission is scheduled to decide on Sept. 28 whether Silverman should get a permit to demolish the structures at 32-36, 38-40 and 46-48 S. Potomac St., diagonally across from the Maryland Theatre.

Some Preservation Design District Commission members said they were concerned about letting the three buildings be torn down, particularly 32-36, which predates the Civil War.

The proposed new building would be four stories high and would have two levels of parking below street level with an estimated 113 parking spaces.

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Silverman said the project would cost about $12 million, based on a similar building he is working on in Frederick, Md.

A telecommunications company and two law firms have asked about leasing space after reading a previous article about the project in The Morning Herald, he said.

Fully leased, 290 to 300 people could be employed at the building, according to Silverman.

The new building would probably contain a restaurant or coffee shop, perhaps Starbucks, said Silverman, whose development company is in Rockville, Md.

With him at the workshop were Hagerstown engineer Richard L. Reichenbaugh and Columbia, Md., architect D. Ronald Brasher.

The building would feature a large atrium and an elevator to bring people from the below-ground parking lots to the front door on South Potomac Street. The parking lot and elevator could be used by the public after the rest of the office building has closed.

Silverman said the building would liven up the downtown. "We're really trying to create more of an urban plaza, a pedestrian-friendly plaza," he told the commission.

Silverman said his project would mesh well with a separate $10 million performing and visual arts center also being considered for that block.

Preservation Design District Commission members said it doesn't seem right to tear down buildings that contribute to the downtown district as a way of building it up.

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