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Economy delays Hagerstown renovation project

January 02, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Construction on the Renaissance Center in Hagerstown has been pushed back indefinitely because of the sluggish economy, City Economic Development Director Deborah Everhart said Wednesday.

Work to renovate the building, which formerly was the Holiday Motel, at the corner of Prospect and West Washington streets was supposed to be finished by the end of last year. A sign that says "Renaissance Center Coming 2008" still hangs out front.

Edward "Skip" Tovornik Jr., president of CHS Development Property Management of Frederick, Md., proposed using the building to construct eateries and office and retail space.

The units then would be sold at about $200 per square foot.

Tovornik did not return a message that was left at his office Wednesday, but the CHS Web site said the units would range in size from 744 to 2,243 square feet and range in price from $132,432 to $399,254.

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The purchase price for the entire building is $1.9 million, the Web site said,

In 2007, the building and surrounding land were acquired for $1.1 million by 170 Washington LLC, according to the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.

Everhart said Tovornik and city officials hoped construction would be finished -- or at least started -- sometime in 2008. But Tovornik didn't receive financing because he couldn't find enough people who wanted to lease or buy.

"The reason it didn't happen in 2008 was the change in the economy," Everhart said. "The good news is the property hasn't been abandoned."

CHS is the same company that built Mount Prospect, a luxury condominium complex at 37 S. Prospect St.

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