Downtown building could become eatery

September 18, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

The Hagerstown City Council Tuesday gave general support for a proposal by Bowman Development Corp. to turn the former Tri-State Electric building downtown into a restaurant and offices.

The company would pay the estimated $1.2 million cost with available working capital, Economic Development Coordinator Deborah Everhart said.

Additionally, the company suggests construction of a neighboring three-level parking deck, with 80 to 100 parking spaces, she said.

The estimated cost of the parking deck is about $2 million, she said.

Irvin Gish, president of Bowman Development Corp., said the company will discuss with the city how the parking deck would be funded.

Gish and architect George Harne presented the proposal to the council during Tuesday's work session.

The Bowman company has offered $1,000 as a purchase price for the city-owned Tri-State building at 38-40 S. Potomac St.

The city bought the building for $120,000 from Hagerstown attorney Vincent Groh in November 1996, city spokeswoman Karen Giffin said.


Under the Bowman plan, the building would be renovated to create a restaurant on the first floor and offices on the upper two floors, Everhart said. The rehabilitation plans will restore the historic storefront design, refurbish the interior floor and wall surfaces, install new elevator and stairs, among other improvements, she said.

The plan assumes the neighboring Double T Building will be demolished and that space will be available for an outdoor dining area.

If the city approves the sale, the project would be ready for occupancy about 12 to 14 months later, Everhart said.

At its May 28 meeting, the council approved a land swap with the Hagerstown/Washington County Industrial Foundation, known as CHIEF, in which CHIEF gave the city the former Double T building, and the city gave CHIEF the former McBare's Pub building.

The city wanted the Double T as part of a plan to demolish that building and put a walkway and a new parking lot on the property.

The Bowman proposal suggests parking be in the form of a parking deck but it is not a requirement.

"I think a deck has a lot of merit for that area, not only for this particular facility but for the neighborhood," Mayor William M. Breichner said.

Without a parking deck, there would be a maximum of 46 parking spaces, Everhart said

Earlier this year, Hagerstown Resident Beverly Kipe and Bowman Development Corp. had submitted proposals on how they would use the building if the city sold it to them.

Kipe, a budget analyst for the U.S. Department of Energy, told the city this month she was withdrawing from the process "in deference to the strength of Bowman's proposal and development capacity," Everhart wrote in a staff report.

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