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Deed of former McBare property signed over to theater

Substantial changes are planned for the building at 25-29 S. Potomac St.

December 15, 2010|By DON AINES | donaines@herald-mail.com
  • Ken Grove, from left, Hagerstown Mayor Robert Bruchey, Samuel Young, president of the Maryland Theatre, Dick Phoebus and John Urner pass papers around to get their signatures for the deed and mortgage for the McBare's property next to the Maryland Theatre.
Yvette May, Staff Photographer

Officials from Hagerstown, the Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation and The Maryland Theatre shuffled documents back and forth for signatures Wednesday, transferring ownership of the former McBare property to the theater.

No money changed hands in the transaction, but substantial changes are planned for the building at 25-29 S. Potomac St., which has housed the theater’s offices for seven years.

“The city and CHIEF (the industrial foundation) partnered to save the building for the appropriate public use,” CHIEF President and CEO Richard Phoebus said.

“We've done the easy stuff. You've got the heavy lifting to do now,” he told Sam Young, president of The Maryland Theatre board of directors.

Serving as a backdrop to the signing of the documents were drawings of what the building could look like in the future, the front being extended to the sidewalk, eliminating a gardened alcove now used for Wind Down Friday events.

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“What we've put together were some conceptual plans with the idea of partnering with other arts organizations,” Young said.

The first floor will have the ticket office and a lobby area for the theater, additional restrooms and an elevator, Young said.

The second floor will have administrative offices and could feature a balcony area to accommodate a small orchestra or band for special occasions, he said.

“Three studio spaces with movable partitions are planned for the third floor, and the fourth floor would feature a reception hall with a window wall opening onto a terrace,” Young said.

That hall and terrace would become the locale for future Wind Down Fridays, he said. Each floor would have about 7,000 square feet of space when the expansion and renovation is completed, Young said. More restrooms are planned for each floor, he said.

Planning for the building will be under way for six months to a year, Young said.

The theater has yet to develop a budget for the project and a capital campaign will be needed to raise the money, he said.

However, a “significant pledge” has been made to the project that will be announced at a later date, he said.

Earlier this year, the Hagerstown City Council passed an ordinance to convey its interest in the McBare property to the theater for $261,020.

The money is only due if the conditions of the sale are violated, the main ones being that the theater not turn around and sell the building, or use it for purposes other than an arts and culture venue, Young said.

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