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Downtown renovation plans shown

August 06, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Officials with the Bowman Development Corp. on Tuesday described for government officials their plans for improving downtown Hagerstown, including building a five-level 202-space parking deck and renovating two buildings.

A model of how the section of the first block of south Potomac Street would look after it is changed was shown to the council as part of the presentation.

"I think it's a beautiful development," Commission James Kercheval said.

"This is a big step in redeveloping downtown. We know we have some work to do," Mayor William M. Breichner said.

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Bowman proposes putting a restaurant or retail business on the first floor of the former Tri-State Electric building, and offices on the second and third floors, Breichner said.

The company also purchased a residential building adjacent to the former Tri-State, which is to be renovated to look as it did before, architect George Harne of Myersville, Md., said.

Bowman plans to put offices in the first two buildings and an apartment on the third floor, Breichner said.

As part of ongoing negotiations, the company and city are trying to determine how to fund a parking deck, which would be built where the former Double T Building stood before it was demolished. The former Tri-State Electric building is adjacent to the Double T building.

The council is scheduled to discuss funding for the parking deck at its Aug. 19 work session, Breichner said.

The parking deck would be accessible not from Potomac Street but from an alleyway off Antietam Street.

While the proposed parking deck would have the same number of levels as the existing five-level parking deck on North Potomac, it would have fewer spaces - 202 instead of 451, city officials said.

The city believes the parking deck will help the city prepare for future projects in the downtown, including a proposed Hagerstown Arts and Entertainment District, Breichner said.

Harne said the deck would be about 150 feet from the Maryland Theatre.

The renovation work and the parking deck construction probably would occur simultaneously, Breichner said.

No timeline for the work was presented Tuesday.

Under its rehabilitation plan for the former Tri-State building, Bowman would restore the historic storefront design, refurbish the interior floor and wall surfaces, and install a new elevator and stairs, among other improvements, city officials say.

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