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Old armory up for sale again

November 29, 2003|by

laurae@herald-mail.com

The old Hagerstown Armory building is up for sale - again.

After receiving no bids for the building earlier this year, the Maryland Department of General Services plans to advertise the building for sale on its Web site next month, said agency spokesman Dyer Bell.

The state-owned building at 328 N. Potomac St. has been vacant for about six years.

Two years ago, the Cumberland Valley Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors struck a deal with the city of Hagerstown to renovate the building for its administrative offices and a training center.

Under the plan, the city would have turned over the building to the nonprofit ABC for $1.

But the Maryland Board of Public Works refused to give the building to the city, citing the need for public bids.

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ABC did not bid on the project. In fact, the state received no bids on the 77-year-old building, Bell said.

The roof is leaking and is filled with asbestos, Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, said.

ABC was willing to take on the costly project with volunteer help from the contractors who are members of the nonprofit organization, Munson said.

ABC Board Chairman John Barr said the group is still looking for a permanent home.

In September, ABC moved from Howard Street to Frederick Street, where it is leasing space, Barr said.

ABC may still be interested in the armory but so far has not had any luck discussing the matter with the state after being rebuffed on the earlier deal, he said.

"Ever since then we've been sort of apprehensive," he said.

Munson said his office is trying to set up a meeting with the department of general services to discuss the building's future.

The armory is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Modeled after a Medieval fortification, the building is significant for its association with the reorganization and expansion of the National Guard system in the early 20th century, according to the Maryland Historical Trust.

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