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Acquistion of former Blue Ridge Outlet Center is finalized

May 10, 2002|BY SARAH MULLIN

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Berkeley County Commission and the Berkeley County Building Commission held a joint meeting Thursday and in about 20 minutes finalized the sale and acquisition of the former Blue Ridge Outlet Center.

The center will be turned into a judicial center and office space for various county entities. It also will be used by the Shepherd College Technical and Community College.

The county bought the outlets' three buildings and an adjoining parking lot for $3.8 million.

The county bought the Berkeley, Crawford and Dunn buildings from State Street Bank and Trust Co., which took over the outlets after owner Blue Ridge Outlet Association Limited Partnership III, including general partner Moncure Chatfield-Taylor, defaulted on a $13.5 million loan.

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The Berkeley Building will become a judicial center in an effort to meet the space needs of the county's court system, which is spread out among five buildings.

The additional $1.2 million in bonds will go towards renovations, but it won't be enough.

The engineering firm Spillis Candela DMJM gave the county an estimated cost of $14.8 million for renovations and new construction for the Berkeley Building alone.

Commission President Howard Strauss said the county will try to lower the cost and has requested aid from federal and state officials.

County officials hope to complex will be completed by 2005.

The Shepherd College Community and Technical College will move from its current location in the Berkeley Building to the Dunn Building.

The county is spending about $400,000 in renovations on the first floor of the building to make it suitable for use by the college.

The college hopes to move into the new location during Christmas break, college officials said.

The college will lease the space for $150,000 a year.

The second floor of the Dunn Building may be used for county administrative offices.

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