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Chamber plans to sell its building

July 24, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce plans to sell the property it owns downtown and move into rental property elsewhere downtown, Chamber President Fred K. Teeter Jr. said.

The chamber wants to sell its 3,200-square-foot building at 111 W. Washington St. because it has outgrown the property and to be in compliance with Internal Revenue Service regulations, Teeter said.

The Chamber Foundation owns the property, which was purchased in 1990.

The chamber has been wanting to sell the property for years because the offices are cramped and would be more so if another employee were hired, which is possible, Teeter said.

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Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service told the foundation and chamber that they are not in compliance with federal regulations because the building and its upkeep makes up much of the foundation's budget, Teeter said.

In addition, owning income-generating property placed the nonprofit foundation afoul of some IRS regulations, but that is not the main reason for the plans to sell the building, Chamber board member Jamie Neikirk said. It makes more sense to rent than to own, he said.

The building will be put on the market within one week and there are already some interested buyers, Teeter said.

Neikirk is heading a committee to find a buyer and relocate the offices.

The chamber probably would insist that the buyer let the chamber continue to use the offices for about six months while it acquires a new home, Neikirk said.

The chamber is looking at various rental possibilities, including the former Cannon Shoe Factory next to Christ's Reformed Church and property closer to Public Square, Neikirk said.

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