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Entrepreneur hosts council, still seeks city's help

August 11, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- An attorney seeking city-backed loans to open a downtown Hagerstown auto showroom and restaurant let city officials tour the property on Tuesday.

The Hagerstown Redevelopment Authority (HRA) has turned down requests from Tim Gordon totaling $160,000 to help renovate the North Potomac Street property.

Gordon is trying to get the city council, as an appellate body, to approve his requests, which he said will determine whether his business can open.

"With it, I can. Without it, I can't," he said.

Gordon said a $110,000 Maryland Historical Trust credit is his collateral for city loans.

During a work session on Tuesday, John Urner, a city attorney, explained the HRA appeals process to Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II and council members.

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Urner said the HRA decides loan requests of $100,000 or less. Rejected applicants can appeal to the city council.

For applications of loans more than $100,000, the HRA makes recommendations to the city council, which decides, Urner said.

After the meeting, City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said he didn't know when the matter would come back before the council.

He said Gordon has asked the council to help him, but hasn't formally appealed the HRA's decision.

Gordon, through Our Three Sons LLC, asked the HRA for $100,000 from an Upper Floor Funds account and $60,188 from the Hagerstown Revolving Loan Fund. The money would help pay for an elevator to be installed and for a sprinkler system.

On Tuesday, after giving city officials a tour, Gordon said he could open on Oct. 15 if the loans come through.

On Monday, papers were filed in Washington County Circuit Court to foreclose on a house Gordon and his wife, Barbara A. Constable, own on Plumwood Drive, just outside Hagerstown.

A June 12 notice of intent to foreclose says Gordon and Constable are in default of a 2003 mortgage. The original principal was $270,000. As of June 10, they owed $245,962.35.

The notice says they defaulted on March 6 and must pay $7,626.76 to cure the default or risk a foreclosure sale.

Asked about the foreclosure, Gordon said it doesn't affect the business venture of his limited liability company, which has several investors.

"That's something totally separate," he said.

Gordon said he expects to pay the overdue mortgage amount soon.

He said the HRA's rejection has hampered him.

"I have been putting all of my personal funds and assets into keeping this project moving forward," he said.

Hubcaps Classic Car Cafe would be on the second floor.

The first floor would be a showroom for classic cars rotated in by a Rockville, Md., business, Gordon said.

An adjoining building would have 10 apartments.

A carriage house and four garages are to the rear of the parcel.

Gordon said car enthusiasts from up to an hour away would enjoy Hubcaps, potentially livening the downtown.

"If the city's not going to invest in itself, who is?" he said.

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