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Developer banks on downtown

October 27, 2004|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - When Donald Bowman said others would come forward with projects in downtown Hagerstown after he announced plans for his own revitalization project, he was right, local developer Paul Crampton Jr. said Tuesday.

Crampton bought the Nicodemus building at 101 W. Washington St. on Oct. 6 for $875,000, according to Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation records.

"We wanted to take an active role in downtown Hagerstown and it's one of the nicest-looking buildings that came available down there in the last year," Crampton said.

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"I think downtown is just ready to break that horizon," Crampton said.

Crampton said he has no specific plans for the former bank building at the corner of West Washington Street and Summit Avenue.

He said he will lease space in the building and renovate it to suit the tenants.

Crampton said the space probably will be offices. He said he'd like to see a restaurant there, but isn't sure that is feasible.

Other builders and developers like Bowman recently have taken an active role in downtown, Crampton said.

Bowman Development Corp. plans to spend approximately $2.6 million to renovate three adjoining parcels in the first block of South Potomac Street. Once done, the project will have a restaurant, a coffee shop, a newsstand and a loft apartment, plus additional office space, Bowman has said.

The building for years housed First National Bank of Maryland, then housed an Allfirst bank. After Allfirst's merger with M&T Bank, the former Allfirst branch was an M&T Bank branch for a few months before closing last year.

Renovations are not expected to start at the Nicodemus building for at least six months as Crampton finishes the third shopping center at South Pointe Center on East Oak Ridge Drive.

The large vault on the main banking floor will remain because it's too heavy to remove, Crampton said.

Some local historians and genealogists had hoped to open a cultural heritage center in the former bank building, but then realized how much operating costs would be for the Nicodemus building, said Mindy Marsden, executive director of the Washington County Historical Society.

The group still wants to create a central site for collections of historical and genealogical documents, she said.

The property sale means Washington County gets $4,125 from the county transfer tax, according to deed records at the Washington County Courthouse.

The state gets $6,650 from the state recordation tax and $4,375 from the state transfer tax, according to deed records.

Crampton bought the building under the company name, LTP LLC, which stands for Lance Taryn Paul Inc. - the names of his children, he said.

Other current or possible projects in the downtown:

· The University System of Maryland at Hagerstown is expected to open in January.

· Frederick, Md., attorney Stephen Glessner wants to redevelop the city-owned Tusing Warehouse into a main restaurant, food court and commercial office space.

· DEMCORE Development bought the Public Square building that houses Frostburg State University's Hagerstown Center to lease the space for retail and office use.

· Fidelity Bank is spending more than $1 million to renovate the former Home Federal Savings Bank headquarters on West Washington Street.

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