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Several plans offered for warehouse usage

July 12, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN- Three companies made pitches to the Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday to buy and renovate the Tusing Warehouse at 58 E. Washington Street.

One constant was the price: Each applicant offered $110,000. That's how much the city paid for the vacant three-story brick building in 1997, according to Deborah Everhart, the city's economic development director.

· Stamper Properties LLC of Hagerstown proposed a multicultural events center. Potomac Playmakers, a theater company, would move to the building from its current home on South Prospect Street.

Michael Guessford, the owner of Always Ron's Restaurant, said he'd use part of the building to cater weddings and other parties.

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He said other community groups, such as The City Ballet School, are interested in using the building, too.

· Nordyke Design Group Inc. of Hagerstown offered three choices for redeveloping the building: a specialty restaurant, similar to Brewer's Alley in Frederick, Md.; an open market like Baltimore's Harbor Place; or an office building.

Brian K. Nordyke, the company's president, said he and architect Chip Alsip are interested in using part of the warehouse as a place to expand their businesses.

· Skip Tovornik, president of CHS Inc. in Frederick, said he would turn the building into an upscale restaurant on the first and possibly second floor, and office space on the third floor. CHS would sell spaces, as condominium units, rather than lease them.

Scott Grove, whose public relations firm works with CHS, said four or five retail businesses might be set up together.

A sketch of CHS' plan shows glass-enclosed stairways extending from either end of the building and a raised front patio area, which, the city council was told, could be used as a Western Maryland Blues Fest stage.

The city council took no action on the proposals.

"We'll look at each one on its merits," Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said.

Stamper said his company would invest about $850,000 into fixing up the building.

Nordyke projected his expense to be about $800,000.

Tovornik said CHS would put about $1 million into renovating the building.

In his proposal, Nordyke said the building first shows up on a 1918 map and is listed in a 1917-18 directory as the home of Maryland Shoe Manufacturing Co. Inc.

The city has had other offers on the property, but nothing materialized.

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