Former Fleetwood building gets 1st tenant

March 12, 2009|By TIM SHEA

HANCOCK -- A high-end cabinetmaker in Hancock has agreed to become the first tenant in the former Fleetwood Travel Trailers building, Hancock Mayor Daniel A. Murphy said Thursday.

Hoffman Joinery, which is owned by Chris Hoffman, will move from its Main Street location into the former Fleetwood facility, Murphy said.

"(Hoffman) has a small operation and hopes to expand and hire a few more people," Murphy said. "He's outgrown it and needs more space. He only has three to four employees and hopes to double his staff."

Hoffman agreed to rent 7,000 square feet in the building that has more than 125,000 square feet at 35 South St. The contract is for three years, and the business could expand if needed, Murphy said.


"He'll have a very low rent the first year to help him make the move and help him expand," Murphy said. "We can give them a good deal for the first year. It's a win-win deal. He gets a good (rental) rate and we get jobs in town."

Murphy said the town is talking with about a half-dozen other businesses that have shown interest in moving into the Fleetwood building, which closed in 2005.

"We've got several very viable tenants," Murphy said. "Some are closer to making a commitment than others."

The Town of Hancock purchased the Fleetwood facility in the middle of 2008 with a $900,000 donation from philanthropist Stanley Fulton Jr., a former Hancock resident.

The Hancock Town Council is managing the property and marketing it to smaller industries, Murphy said.

"There's no magic number for the number of businesses (in the building)," he said. "We have a huge open industrial site. They can tell us how much (space) they need. If we can get 10 small businesses in there, we'd be tickled."

Murphy said most of the infrastructure work needed to get the building ready for businesses has been completed.

"It's a building that's ready to be used," he said. "It is a functional building. We just need to dress it up a little bit."

Murphy said the town is in the process of applying for a Community Development Block Grant through the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development to fund some of the cosmetic work that needs to be done.

The town continues to seek businesses that would be interested in moving into the Fleetwood facility.

"The hook for us is because we were given this building, we're not sitting on a huge mortgage, so we can offer space a lot cheaper," Murphy said. "This is about getting jobs in town where there are a number of people building things."

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