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ABC is debating armory purchase

June 21, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Cumberland Valley Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors has not decided if it will submit a bid to buy the vacant armory building on North Potomac Street in Hagerstown, ABC Executive Director Joan L. Warner said Wednesday.

The Maryland Board of Public Works voted Wednesday to declare the property surplus and to offer the 22,224-square-foot building on .56 of an acre for sale through a bidding process.

That action scuttled an earlier deal in which the Hagerstown City Council had agreed to transfer the vacant armory building on North Potomac Street to ABC for $1.

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The deal, inked in June 2001, was contingent on the state giving the building at 328 N. Potomac St. to the city.

State officials at the last minute decided not to give the property to the city out of concern that others wouldn't have a chance bid on it, Kathleen Maher, the city's senior planner, said.

The state commonly transfers property to municipalities without taking bids, but not to nonprofit entities, she said.

Warner said ABC was disappointed by the state decision.

ABC officials had planned to move its administrative offices and apprenticeship training program into the building after completing about $1.3 million in renovations, Warner said.

"We also felt it was going to help the community," she said.

ABC has spent an estimated $14,000 to clean up and secure the building, she said.

"We're not out of the picture yet," she said.

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