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Council considers pub building for demolition

January 10, 2001

Council considers pub building for demolition



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


The City of Hagerstown is now the owner of the former McBare's Pub building in front of The Maryland Theatre on South Potomac Street, but the Mayor and City Council have not decided what to do with it.

The council bought the building at 25-29 S. Potomac St. with the intention of having it demolished to make room for an expanded theater lobby, which is part of a $10.2 million plan to put a Performing and Visual Arts Center in buildings next to the theater.

Council members still support those plans, but Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein suggested Tuesday they hold off on the demolition to see if the arts center comes to fruition. If the arts center falls through then the city could sell the three-story brick building, she said.

Saum-Wicklein said the city could set aside the estimated $90,000 it will cost to demolish the building and see if a temporary tenant can be found.

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She said officials with The Maryland Theatre have said they want to move their offices from the theater basement into the former pub building.

Councilmen J. Wallace McClure and Lewis C. Metzner opposed Saum-Wicklein's suggestion, saying they don't want the city to become the "landlord" for the building.

McClure said he's concerned that if groups move into the building it will be more difficult to demolish it later.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II then postponed further discussion of the matter.

"Get The Maryland Theatre in here and then we'll make a decision," Bruchey said.

On Jan. 2, the city acquired the former pub and apartment building for $249,884.55, according to city documents.

According to state records, the building had been owned by McBares Properties LLC, which purchased it for $135,716 in 1997.

The council agreed Tuesday to have the contents of the building inventoried and their value estimated.

In November, the council voted to provide about $258,000 to the Hagerstown/Washington County Industrial Foundation, known as CHIEF, to purchase the building and turn it over to the city at an unspecified future date.

City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said CHIEF would be involved because it was believed the McBare's building still had tenants and CHIEF was to serve as a property manager.

CHIEF was cut out of the deal once it was discovered the McBare's property no longer had any tenants, Zimmerman said.

The $10.2 million arts center is being proposed by a committee of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce.

The other buildings involved in the project, known as the Edison apartments and Henry's theater buildings, are north of The Maryland Theatre.

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