Historic farmhouse to be auctioned

April 25, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS |
  • The "French Lane farmhouse" off Greencastle Pike southwest of Hagerstown will soon be auctioned.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

Washington County is preparing to auction a historic farmhouse given to the county in 1998 during a nearby development project, Real Property Administrator Joseph F. Kuhna said.

The property, known as the “French Lane farmhouse,” is off Greencastle Pike southwest of Hagerstown, between the Pilot Travel Center and Your Other Warehouse Inc.

A date has not been set for the auction, but Thomas Bikle of Cochran Auctioneers said it likely would be scheduled for the first week in June.

The two-story stone house was built in 1900, according to Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation records. The auction also will include 4.7 acres of land and outbuildings.

The minimum bid likely will be around $134,000, Kuhna said. He suggested that figure assuming a 30 percent drop in local real estate values since the property was appraised in 2007 at $191,300.

The Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously April 5 to take the property to auction.

“At least we can return it to the tax base,” Commissioner William B. McKinley said at the time. “We have no earthly use for it. We can only come out on the plus side of things by selling it.”

The house was part of a 36-acre property that was given to the county in 1998 when TruServ built a warehouse on Hunters Green Parkway, Kuhna said. The county helped TruServ acquire the property and, under the terms of a Community Development Block Grant, was required to place an easement on the historic farmhouse, he said.

The county used most of the 36 acres for a forest conservation area, but subdivided the property so 4.7 acres could be sold along with the house, Kuhna said.

The easement on the property means that no exterior improvements can be performed without permission from the Maryland Historical Trust and must be performed in accordance with federal guidelines, he said.

Kuhna said two individuals with experience renovating historic homes have expressed an interest in the property over the past several years.

The county will pay a commission to the auction company, which will come out of the sale price of the property, and will pay about $2,000 to publicize the auction, Kuhna said.

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