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Mount Aetna Farms auctioned for $9 million

March 21, 2007

A bank has purchased approximately 220 acres known as Mount Aetna Farms, off Robinwood Drive, just outside the City of Hagerstown.

Auctioneer David S. Fox, chairman of Go Industry Michael Fox International, said Mercantile Safe Deposit and Trust purchased the property in a foreclosure sale for $9 million.

The auction was held Wednesday on the front steps of the Washington County Courthouse in Hagerstown. About 20 people gathered for the auction.

Michael G. Gallerizzo, an attorney representing Mercantile, said the property would end up in the hands of Osprey I LLC.

No information was available Wednesday about plans for the property.

Fox began the bidding price at $10 million, then dropped it to $5 million when there were no takers. The price then climbed to $9 million in a matter of minutes.

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The land is zoned residential suburban and agricultural.

Maryland tax records list the property's former owner as QD Mt Aetna LLC, with a mailing address of Quillen Development Inc. in Lutherville, Md.

The property had been the site of a proposed residential development in which more than 1,400 units were planned.

Washington County Planning Director Michael Thompson said he wasn't sure what happened with that plan.

Planning and engineering staff and Planning Commission members had been discussing project with the developer for about two years ago, but then talks stopped without explanation, Thompson said.

They talked about road improvements required for the project, possible land being set aside for an elementary school and whether the overall plan would work for the county.

"The project was a nice-looking project," Thompson said. "And then it was almost like they disappeared, and I don't know what really caused that."

-Tara Reilly

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