New owner says building could help revitalize downtown

September 14, 2004|by JULIE E. GREENE

HAGERSTOWN - The new owner of the building that houses Frostburg State University's Hagerstown Center wants to lease the space for retail and office use, he said Monday.

"It's an important building in town. I think it could make an impact if something good is done with it. (It could) help downtown revitalization efforts," said Mike Deming, the new owner of the building and owner of DEMCORE Development.

The 6-16 W. Washington St. building that fronts on Public Square and West Washington Street was bought under the name 6 West Washington LLC for $1.4 million on Aug. 31, according to Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation records.


The property was bought from Towne Center LLC, which Dominick Perini said he owns. Perini said he sold the building after considering trying to lure a national education center or institution to open a Shakespearean school on the property.

Frostburg's Hagerstown Center will move into the new and nearby University System of Maryland at Hagerstown building between the end of the fall semester on Dec. 17 and the beginning of the spring semester on Jan. 26, said Interim Director Lew Muth. Muth said 287 students are registered this fall.

The school had planned to move into the former Baldwin House complex, where the university system building will open in January, before its current home was sold, Muth said.

Other tenants in the building are the Child Care Administration, the Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board and Federated Mutual Insurance Company, according to a directory in The Towne Centre Building's lobby.

The property also includes the FSU Hagerstown Center's conference center and the vacant space next door that formerly was occupied by United Optical.

Deming said he didn't have any new lease deals done yet, but hoped to attract to the building existing businesses in the area as well as new businesses to the county. This might include restaurants, he said.

Deming, who lives in Adams County, Pa., said he started purchasing property in Hagerstown about three years ago when he saw the city's potential while looking in Frederick, Md.

"You could just see the momentum shifting and moving west," Deming said.

"This is an ideal spot. It's ready," Deming said.

Deming said he didn't buy the property because of the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown, although it is expected to bring more people downtown.

Deming said he sees the potential downtown has to grow a lot in the next 10 years.

Deming also owns the building at 2-4 Public Square, where DEMCORE Development's office is, and residential units in the Hagerstown area, he said.

The building that houses FSU's Hagerstown Center housed Fleisher's dress shop until the late 1980s.

The property sale means Washington County gets $6,750 from the county transfer tax and $10,108 from the recordation tax, said Dennis Weaver, clerk of Washington County Circuit Court.

The state will get $7,000 from the state transfer tax and a $532 commission for collecting the recordation tax, Weaver said.

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