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Soon-to-be-vacant Sovereign Bank space eyed for Washington County offices

December 26, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com
  • A sign on the door of the Sovereign Bank branch at 100 W. Washington St. in Hagerstown alerts its customers that its doors will close March 2.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — With Sovereign Bank closing its 100 W. Washington St. branch on March 2, Washington County officials are interested in moving additional county offices to that building, according to County Administrator Gregory B. Murray.

The bank leases space from the county in the downtown Hagerstown building known as the County Administration Building, at the intersection of West Washington and Jonathan streets, diagonally across from the Washington County Courthouse.

According to a notice posted on the bank’s door, the West Washington Street branch will close at 3 p.m. March 2 and all accounts will be transferred to Sovereign Bank’s Longmeadow branch at 1591 Potomac Ave.

“It’s still within close proximity for customers,” Sovereign Bank spokesman Bryan Hurst said of the Longmeadow branch.

Hurst said the bank would not comment on why it is closing the downtown branch.

Murray said county officials learned of the closure when the bank notified the county that it would not renew its lease.

The bank pays $74,700 per year to lease the 5,976-square-foot, first-floor space, Murray said. That payment includes the branch’s utilities, which cost the county $12,000 to $25,000 per year, he said.

County engineering and architectural staff members are evaluating the space to determine how it could be used after the bank leaves, Murray said.

“We would prefer to be able to consolidate (county government space) and be more efficient in our operations, as opposed to turning it around and leasing it again,” Murray said.

The County Administration Building already houses the Washington County Board of Commissioners’ meeting and workshop space, as well as several county offices, including those of the county administrator, public works director and county attorneys.

Other county offices are spread between other locations such as the County Office Building at 35 W. Washington St. and the County Administrative Annex at 80 W. Baltimore St.

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