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Cinema 10 property to be auctioned

January 04, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- The family that owns the Hagerstown Cinema 10 property on Leitersburg Pike plans to sell the building and land at an auction in March.

The property includes 18.86 acres and the 36,233-square-foot cinema building, according to Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation records, and will be assessed at $3.9 million as of July 1.

However, the minimum bid for the property to be sold must be at least $995,000, said Tom Bikle, director of real estate and marketing for J.G. Cochran Auctioneers & Associates, which will conduct the on-site March 17 auction.

The property has been in the Ridenour family for many years. The late J. Kenneth Ridenour opened a cinema there in 1970, next to a drive-in.

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In the last nine years, the theater business has gone through several owners, and briefly shut down in 2002, 2006 and 2007, in between operators.

The Ridenour family owns the building and land under the name Ridenour 1994 Family LLP.

The operations of the theater, which has 10 screens and 2,000 seats, are separate.

In 2001, when R/C Theatres told the Ridenours it expected to close the theater the following year, the family put the property up for sale.

At the time, The Herald-Mail reported that the property's assessed value as of July 2001 was $2.7 million.

The family held onto it then, but the desire to sell it apparently has returned.

"They just want to liquidate it," Bikle said last week.

It's not clear how the sale would affect the theater operations.

The current operator is Diamond Cinemas, which signed a 10-year lease in November 2007.

A Diamond Cinemas representative didn't return a phone message left last week.

Bikle said the property is being marketed as a turnkey business.

He said a prospective buyer interested in the theater and the seven acres on which it sits could join with a second prospective buyer, who might want the additional 11 acres for a separate project.

One person asked about the property's potential for a convention center, Bikle said.

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