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Company wants to buy, fix up Halfway Manor

June 11, 2007|by JOSHUA BOWMAN

HALFWAY - A New Jersey-based development company plans to spend $2.37 million to buy and rehabilitate Halfway Manor Apartments, off Virginia Avenue southwest of Hagers-town's city limits.

Michaels Development will apply for multifamily, tax-exempt bonds from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to renovate the 100-unit, low-income complex at 11201 Scarlet Drive.

The apartments' kitchens, bathrooms and floors likely will be renovated as part of the project, which also will include several security upgrades, according to Mark Morgan, vice president of Michaels Development.

"It's going to improve the interior aspects and curb appeal of this community," Morgan said.

Michaels will apply for the bonds within 60 days and could start construction as soon as February, Morgan said.

The Washington County Commissioners have backed the project with a letter of support, which is a required part of the application for state bonds.

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The company first requested the letter in February but the commissioners deferred their decision, saying they wanted to see a security assessment of the property from the Washington County Sheriff's Office before approving the project.

The sheriff's department completed a security assessment in March and recommended several improvements, including lighting and fencing upgrades, trash cleanup in a nearby wooded area and the installation of closed-circuit television cameras on the property. The sheriff's department also recommended that apartments be equipped with steel or solid-wood exterior doors with one-inch deadbolt locks and peepholes.

Washington County Sheriff Douglas W. Mullendore said officers respond to a lot of calls at the complex, but added that the volume of calls has gone down recently.

"We used to have a number of problems over there, but it has reduced over the last two months," Mullendore said.

Michaels included all of the sheriff's department's security recommendations in its plan for the project, Morgan said.

The development company owns Elizabeth Court and Stonecroft Apartments, two other low-income rental communities in Hagerstown.

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