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Part of Hager's Crossing development faces foreclosure

April 14, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ
  • A 26-acre development site will be auctioned.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer,

HAGERSTOWN -- A bank is foreclosing on two parcels at Hager's Crossing, a large housing development on the city's western edge.

Last fall, the Hagerstown Planning Commission approved 147 multiplex units -- similar to apartments -- on a 16.52-acre parcel, but nothing has been built.

A community center for the development sits on an adjacent 9.34-acre parcel.

A foreclosure auction on the parcels is scheduled for May 5.

In October 2001, The Rachuba Group of Eldersburg, Md., submitted plans to build 936 residential units behind the Centre at Hagerstown as part of a planned-unit development, with a mix of uses.

Within a few months, the project had been scaled down to 728 units, including single-family homes, town houses and four-unit buildings.

Ray Rachuba, a member of The Rachuba Group, said Wednesday that about 500 units have been built at Hager's Crossing.

He said the problem with the two parcels is tied to the overall bad economic climate. The rest of the development is not affected, he said.

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Manufacturers and Traders Trust Co. is foreclosing on a $2.475 million mortgage secured by Rachuba Town and Country LLC in 2006.

As of Jan. 31, 2010, none of the principal had been repaid, according to an affidavit on file in Washington County Circuit Court.

Including interest and late charges, the outstanding debt as of Jan. 31 was $2,521,596.21.

Rachuba Town & Country LLC is listed as a defendant in the foreclosure proceeding and Hager's Crossing Homeowners Association is listed as a co-defendant.

Rachuba said the decline of the housing market altered the company's plans for the multiplex units.

Houses selling for more than $400,000 several years ago now go for about half that, Rachuba said.

The Rachuba Group envisioned selling multiplex units in the low $200,000 range, Ray Rachuba said. Now, a prospective buyer can get a single-family house for the same money.

Rachuba said his company is talking to the bank, hoping to reach an agreement to prevent the foreclosure auction.

"Negotiations will dictate what we're going to do," he said.

A.J. Billing & Co. Auctioneers is scheduled to auction the parcels May 5 at noon.

On Sept. 30, 2009, the city's planning commission approved 147 multiplex units in clusters on the larger parcel, contingent upon a few wastewater department comments being answered, according to a letter by Stephen Bockmiller, a development planner for the city.

Bockmiller said Wednesday the units would have been in clusters, around a drive-in courtyard.

About two years earlier, The Rachuba Group proposed building 240 condominium units in that area.

The community center on an adjacent parcel opened almost three years ago. It has a swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts, ballfields, a weight room and more.

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