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County benefits from sale

June 25, 2002|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

Washington County government got about $300,000 from a real estate investment trust's purchase of the Centre at Hagerstown, County Administrator Rodney Shoop said Monday.

Washington Real Estate Investment Trust of Rockville, Md., announced that it bought the 2-year-old shopping center Friday for $41.7 million.

The shopping center off Interstate 81 at U.S. 40 is home to national retailers such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Petsmart, Circuit City and Marshalls.

Wal-Mart and Home Depot, the two largest anchors, were not included in the sale because each owns its building.

Shoop said the county has received $316,920 in recordation tax money, which will help the county break even for the fiscal year ending June 30. Income tax revenue came in slightly below what the county expected, he said.

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The windfall will have no impact on next year's budget, he said.

The $75 million shopping center was built on 38 acres by a joint venture of Developers Diversified Realty Corp. of Cleveland and Petrie Dierman Kughn of McLean, Va.

A spokesman for the company could not be reached Monday.

Thirty tenants lease 98 percent of the 326,846 square feet available, WRIT said in a press release. Fewer than 8 percent of the leases expire before 2010.

"The Centre at Hagerstown presents a terrific opportunity for WRIT to invest in a quality regional shopping center with an excellent interstate location and extended trade area," Edmund B. Cronin Jr., WRIT's president and CEO, said in a press release.

The shopping center draws its customers from a regional area inhabited by 257,000 people with an average household income of $48,000, WRIT said.

WRIT expects to earn 9.3 percent on the investment in the first year.

The trust owns 58 properties, including 11 retail centers, in the greater Washington-Baltimore region.

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