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Company requests county to support Halfway Manor project

February 21, 2007|by TARA REILLY

HAGERSTOWN - A New Jersey company has asked the Washington County Commissioners to support its plans to acquire and rehabilitate the Halfway Manor apartment complex south of Hagerstown.

The commissioners are hesitant to back the project until they receive more details about the company's plans and how it intends to address crime in the complex.

The company, The Michaels Development Co. of Marlton, N.J., needs a letter of support from the commissioners to apply for multifamily tax exempt bonds from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.

Halfway Manor is a 100-unit apartment complex at 11201 Scarlet Drive that receives Section 8 rental assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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The Michaels Development Co. has managed the property for the last three years.

Jed Henderson of The Michaels Development Co. told the commissioners Tuesday that the company intends to spend $3 million to rehabilitate the complex.

Mark Morgan, the company's vice president, told County Administrator Rodney M. Shoop in a Jan. 25 letter that the project "will improve both the curb appeal and the interior condition of the units and mechanical systems."

Commissioner Kristin B. Aleshire said it would be premature for the commissioners to write a letter of support without more details.

Henderson said the company is in the process of developing the plans.

Commissioners Vice President Terry L. Baker said he wanted to know how the company would deal with crime and social problems in the complex.

The Washington County Sheriff's Department responds to a significant number of calls in Halfway Manor and will provide the commissioners with statistics on those calls, Sheriff Douglas Mullendore said.

He suggested that the development company tighten the way it manages the property to help cut down on crime.

Col. Randy Wilkinson said the complex is "dead in the center" of most of the department's calls, but that he thinks the calls at Halfway Manor have gone down.

"I don't think we're there as much as we used to be," Wilkinson said.

The Michaels Development Co.'s Web site states the company produces top quality, affordable housing.

Commissioner James F. Kercheval said he didn't oppose "taking a property that is unattractive and giving it a facelift."

"How is that bad for the county?" he said.

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