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Developer wants to build 22 apartments in downtown Hagerstown

July 07, 2010|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- A Hagerstown developer told Washington County liquor officials on Wednesday that he wants to build 22 apartments in a group of buildings near the city's Arts and Entertainment District.

Mike Deming, president of Demcore Development, said the apartments would be built in the buildings that stretch from Barnwood Books at 103 S. Potomac St. to the former Short Stop Tavern at 17 W. Antietam St.

Deming presented his plans to the Board of License Commissioners for Washington County, known as the liquor board, after officials asked him what he planned to do with the Short Stop Tavern's liquor license.

The Short Stop Tavern closed more than a year ago. The space is vacant and cluttered with discarded materials, including a beer keg and other leftover items from the bar.

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"It's going to be a pretty tough project," Deming told the liquor board.

Deming said he wants to retain the liquor license because he'd like to open something along the lines of a jazz club on the lower floor of the building that houses Barnwood Books. The apartments would be constructed on the upper floors of the Barnwood Books building and extend to the rear into structures off West Antietam Street that currently sit vacant, he said.

Deming said after the liquor board hearing that the apartments would not be built for low-income tenants, despite recent efforts to get financial assistance from a building-rehabilitation program offered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"The units will be nice, two bedrooms, two baths with washers and dryers," he said. "I want to make it clear it's not a done deal. We're working through the process."

Two years ago, Demcore Development proposed building a 1,300-seat nightclub at the same site.

Deming said the sluggish economy caused that plan to fall through.

"The economics didn't work," he said. "We decided to go with apartments to renovate (those) buildings."

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