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City considers buying old downtown CVS building

Building would be used as a business incubator space

December 14, 2010|KATE S. ALEXANDER | kate.alexander@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — The Hagerstown City Council has its eye on the old  CVS building on Washington Street to help boost downtown development.

The council Tuesday discussed a possible purchase of the building at 60 W. Washington St., where most recently CVS operated a pharmacy. It will vote on the purchase next Tuesday.

John Lestitian, director of community and economic development, said the city would use the building as a business incubator space to help spur economic development along West Washington Street.

Lestitian said the city plans to use a $50,000 Community Legacy grant it received in October from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development toward the purchase price of the building.

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The grant stipulated that the funds be used for community revitalization, according to city documents.

The city planned to use whatever space it purchased with the grant as a class-A business incubator for a retail enterprise or a restaurant, and flexible institutional space for educational and cultural anchors downtown, according to city documents from August 2010.

Lestitian said Tuesday that the West Washington Street area does not receive significant foot traffic and has less business activity than the city would like.

“Staff is concerned about the blighted conditions in that area,” he said.

Records show that the 9,840-square-foot building was built in 1920.

The grant will be matched with $75,000 from the city’s downtown revitalization fund and $95,000 from its capital improvement fund for a total purchase price of $220,000.

CVS closed its downtown Hagerstown location in January 2009, according to news reports. A company spokesman said at the time that the closure was a business decision unconnected to the economy.

The store was one of the smallest of seven CVS branches in Hagerstown at the time.

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