Removal of fence at former base under way

May 09, 2006|by TARA REILLY


A chain-link fence running between the first and second gates at the former Fort Ritchie U.S. Army base is being removed.

PenMar Development Corp. Executive Director Rich Rook said Monday that the fence - erected for security purposes when the base was active - is no longer needed.

Rook anticipated most, if not all, of the fence would be taken down Monday.

PenMar was created by the state in 1997 to redevelop the approximately 630-acre base, which the Army shut down in 1998.


Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT), a real estate investment trust based in Columbia, Md., has agreed to buy the base.

COPT's development plan for the base includes the fence being removed.

Rook said he decided Monday to have the fence taken down early because of maintenance issues.

He said the fence needed to be painted, leaves and other debris collect around it, and the fence makes it difficult for workers to mow the lawn.

"It was starting to look pretty rusty," Rook said.

PenMar has agreed to sell the base to COPT for $5 million. If COPT doesn't create 1,400 jobs over nine years, the price will jump to $9 million.

COPT can't take ownership of the base until the property is transferred from the Army to PenMar. Legal battles have been holding up the transfer.

COPT CEO and President Randall Griffin has said the lawsuits are working their way through the legal system.

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