Businessmen buy downtown Susquehanna property
The Susquehanna Bank building is located at 59 W. Washington St. in Hagerstown. (By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer / November 5, 2012)
The building has been a temporary home for Washington County Free Library’s downtown branch while the permanent branch on South Potomac Street is reconstructed. Barr said the library probably will be in the Susquehanna building several months longer, giving him and Crampton plenty of time to consider ideas.’
“We do not have firm plans at this point,” Barr said recently.
Crampton said they probably will wait a while before doing anything with the property.
For years, Susquehanna, which owns the building, used it for a bank branch and regional office. When Susquehanna moved the regional office to a new building on Dual Highway in January 2010, it scaled back its downtown branch, which is now confined to a small room.
Barr and Crampton declined to say how much they are paying for the building until the sale is final, which is expected to happen this month.
The Hagerstown Advance website run by the city lists the asking price for the property at $475,000.
In 2009, The Herald-Mail reported that state and county officials had talked about buying the Susquehanna Bank building as a site for the future expansion of the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown campus across the street.
At the time, then-state Sen. Donald F. Munson said the bank was asking $1.8 million for the building.
Susquehanna had the building on the market, anticipating its move to Dual Highway.
The University System of Maryland at Hagerstown hasn’t considered the Susquehanna building the last few years, campus spokeswoman Erin Harman said.
Instead, USMH is expanding in the former CVS building next door and expects to have about 90 students there. The campus is adding three classrooms and three faculty offices at the CVS building, Harman said.
That change was expected to happen by the end of October, but is still in the works, Harman said Monday.
Barr is on the USMH board of advisors. He also is a Washington County commissioner.
Crampton is the mayor of Funkstown.
Both also are businessmen — Crampton is a developer, Barr owns Ellsworth Electric.
This is their first time as partners in a real estate purchase.
Barr said he had a proposed contract to buy the building on his desk more than a year ago. He wasn’t sure whether to proceed.
Over the summer, he and Crampton, who are friends, came up with the idea of buying the building together.
Through a limited liability company, Crampton owns 101 W. Washington St., the home of Discovery Station.
Ellsworth Electric is on West Lee Street, near downtown.
“We believe in downtown Hagerstown,” Barr said.
“We’re leaning more towards something commercial than retail,” Crampton said. “I’d like to see something that brings employees downtown .... I’m not opposed to anything as long as it’s for revitalization.”
The Susquehanna building has four stories.
The ad on the Hagerstown Advance website says the building has more than 40,000 square feet, with several conference rooms, bathrooms, offices and apartments.
The property actually is made up of two connected parcels and buildings. State assessment records show that one was built in 1900 and the other in 1976.