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Ordinance would convey former McBare's property to theater

September 28, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER
  • The owners of the building that houses The Maryland Theatre's offices at 25-29 S. Potomac St. in Hagerstown are finalizing plans to donate the property to the theater.
Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

The Hagerstown City Council introduced an ordinance Tuesday that conveys its interest in the former McBare's property on Potomac Street to The Maryland Theatre.

The owners of the building, which houses The Maryland Theatre's offices at 25-29 S. Potomac St., are finalizing plans to effectively donate the property to the theater.

The ordinance introduced Tuesday is part of the property transfer.

It stipulates that the property no longer is needed for a public purpose and that it shall be conveyed to the theater for $261,020, according to city documents. The money is only due if conditions of the sale are violated, according to city documents.

The former McBare's property is assessed at $371,600, according to Maryland tax records.

Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation, known as CHIEF, acquired the building in 2003 through a partnership with the city, CHIEF President and CEO Richard Phoebus has said.

Together with CHIEF, the City of Hagerstown has a financial interest in the property that the ordinance protects, City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said.

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While the parties will sign an Agreement of Sale and Purchase, Zimmerman said the building is essentially being donated to the theater.

City Attorney John Urner explained that as a provision of the "sale," the theater does not have to pay or make payments on the property as long as it does not violate the terms of the sale.

At the end of 25 years, if the theater has kept within the terms, the entire principal will be forgiven, he said.

The terms of the sale stipulate that the theater will use the property for the sole purpose of supporting The Maryland Theatre to the benefit of the citizens of the city and county, according to city documents.

The use also must follow the city's requirements for the arts and entertainment district, Zimmerman said.

If the property is used for any other purpose or is sold to a third party, the entire balance of the sale shall be due, according to the agreement of sale and purchase.

Jay C. Constantz, the theater's director, has said there are big plans if the deal goes through.

The theater is planning a $10 million renovation project involving 25-29 S. Potomac St. and the lobby of the theater next door at 21 S. Potomac Street.

The city council will vote on the ordinance at its Oct. 26 meeting. It will go into effect Nov. 25 if passed.

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