Building set for renovations

January 25, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

The basement floor at 28 S. Potomac St. will be AVA's, a relaxed-lounge type of restaurant/nightclub, with a rooftop deck.

The first floor will be a part-elegant, part-casual restaurant known as Duffy's on Potomac, with a private reception room.

Almost 15,000 square feet of office space is available for leasing on the second, third and fourth floors.

This is the former Schindel-Rohrer building under Demcore Development, which bought it in April 2005 for $905,000, according to state property records.

The building is expected to open for business, dining and nightlife in the fall.

Mike Deming, Demcore's president, said Tuesday that this is the first in a series of five or six property transactions in the downtown core for his company.


"It's all right here," he said referring to the blocks close to his office on the first block of West Washington Street.

During an interview in September, Deming said he would announce those projects within 30 to 60 days. However, delays forced him to wait.

On Tuesday, he said he will announce three projects next week, so he can start marketing those buildings.

"We intend on (developing) new residential, new office and new retail space," Deming said.

In the meantime, Demcore is advertising the Schindel-Rohrer building, trying to attract office tenants.

The city issued a building permit Jan. 6 for the renovation work, which is under way. On the building permit, the project cost is estimated at $2.3 million, but Deming said it probably will be higher.

On Friday afternoon, Demcore is hosting a ceremony to celebrate the renovation. Local government officials will speak. Real estate brokers have been invited to tour the building and keep it in mind for their clients.

Hagner Management is handling the leasing for this and other Demcore projects, Deming said.

Deming said the 31,000-square-foot building, which is almost 100 years old, was in average condition when his company bought it - better than some of the same age, but needing a lot of work to bring it to up to code.

In August, the project was awarded a Maryland Heritage Preservation Tax Credit of $540,000.

In October, the Hagerstown Preservation Design District Commission approved a certificate of appropriateness for the project.

About five months ago, Deming offered to buy The Maryland Theatre, which is across South Potomac Street from the Schindel-Rohrer building. The theater board put out a request for other offers, then decided not to sell the building.

Demcore bought 6-16 W. Washington St. - where its office is and where Frostburg State University's Hagerstown Center used to be - for $1.4 million on Aug. 31, 2004, according to state property records.

Demcore also owns 2-4 Public Square.

If you go

What: Ceremony for renovation of Schindel-Rohrer building

When: Friday, 12:30 p.m.

Where: 28 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown

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