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Duffy's on Potomac closes

August 27, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- Not quite three years after opening in Demcore Development's newly renovated building at 28 S. Potomac St., Duffy's on Potomac has closed.

Demcore Development president Mike Deming said Thursday the company hopes to hand the upscale restaurant and AVA's nightclub over to a new operator, who probably will change the name and concept.

"We really need to focus on our real estate business," Deming said.

Demcore is negotiating with several parties interested in operating the restaurant and expects it to reopen under new ownership soon, he said.

"We are working every day to get an actual signed agreement with one of the parties," Deming said.

Events will continue to be held at The Ballroom, which is the event space above Duffy's, and AVA's, the lounge area below it, he said.

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Until Duffy's closed earlier this week, it was operated as a division of Demcore, the real estate development company that owns several downtown Hagerstown properties and has worked to revitalize the area with its Downtown Live! campaign. The campaign is a push to lure people downtown with events such as the Downtown Live! music festival, which last year featured seven bands.

The decision to close Duffy's comes as Deming is struggling to save the building that houses it from foreclosure.

In papers filed Aug. 6 in Washington County Circuit Court, The First National Bank of Mercersburg in Pennsylvania said Deming and his father, Clyde F. Deming III, owed more than $3 million on two notes on the property.

Deming said Thursday that negotiations with the bank were continuing.

"We are working every day to rectify that situation," he said.

With its prime location across from The Maryland Theatre, Duffy's has been a featured part of the city's Arts and Entertainment District, hosting live music, open mic nights, holiday parties, cooking demonstrations and other events.

In a written statement e-mailed Thursday, Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said the city hoped Duffy's on Potomac would reopen soon.

"The City of Hagerstown does not want to see any business close temporarily or permanently, especially a wonderful restaurant in the Arts and Entertainment District," Bruchey said. "However, there are a number of exciting things continuing to happen in the Arts and Entertainment District, including a number of entertainment performances, fine dining and the opening of the Barbara Ingram School this month."

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