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Deming gets OK to open club in former Barnwood Books

June 20, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Developer Mike Deming has received permission from the Hagerstown Board of Zoning Appeals to open a 1,300-seat nightclub in the building that houses Barnwood Books at 101-103 S. Potomac St.

Eva Delle Staley, who for the past 24 years has operated Barnwood Books with her husband, Jack, said it will be sad when they have to leave, but she thinks Deming's plans are good for the downtown area.

"Progress needs to be made," she said. "I'm hoping someone will (buy the bookstore) and move it somewhere else."

Eva Delle Staley said she doesn't know when they will have to leave.

"We're waiting on Mr. Deming to tell us," she said.

Deming said he would have more details, including the starting date for construction, after he meets with his architect next week.

The front of the building is occupied by Barnwood Books and stretches along West Antietam Street to the Shortstop Tavern. Deming said the Shortstop Tavern would be swallowed by the nightclub as well.

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"The entire building will be used," he said. "That's our intent."

According to documents from the Hagerstown Board of Zoning Appeals, the nightclub only would be open when live entertainment is scheduled.

"The plan is to renovate a 30,000-square feet, mostly vacant building into a concert/entertainment hall able to serve up to 1,300 patrons," according to the documents. "The facility will only be available to persons who purchase tickets to the event being held that day. It will not be open to non-ticket purchasers."

The documents also state that the plan is to have several bar areas that would serve alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.

Deming said he has a liquor license for the Shortstop Tavern, and intends to meet with the Board of License Commissioners for Washington County to determine whether the license could be transferred rather than going through the process of obtaining another one.

"It's not an impossibility," said Robert Everhart, chairman of the Board of License Commissioners for Washington County. "But he has to come before the board first."

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