Plans to transform West Washington Street closer to reality

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - The city of Hagerstown and contractors are finalizing plans to revitalize a strip of buildings on W. Washington Street.
 
In 2013, the city of Hagerstown purchased several vacant buildings on W. Washington Street with the hopes of revitalization.
 
"The goal was to buy the property, stabilize it and then have it resold to a private sector for full redevelopment. Now we do have a buyer under contract, which is Hager 5 LLC," said Jonathan Kerns, Community Development Manager.
 
The project will focus on two stretches of buildings. One is at 43-47 W. Washington Street and the other is at 51-53, known as the Bead Building, which currently has three vacant stories.
 
“[Our aim is] to fully renovate the four-story Bead Building at 51 to 53 W. Washington Street. The current proposal in the concept plan would have the third and fourth floor as student apartments,” Kerns said.
 
Student apartments that will be needed after University System of Maryland at Hagerstown’s brand new hospitality and travel program moves into the second floor of the BB&T building.
 
"As soon as the building is completed, the courses that require commercial kitchens and that sort of thing will have those over there,” said Mark Halsey, USMH Executive Director.
 
The university is also in the process of developing a plan to build STEM labs in that same building to attract engineering and science students.
 
“That will draw people from the local school districts that are interested in STEM that may otherwise not go to school beyond two years at HCC or may leave altogether,” Halsey said.
 
As for the lot at 43-47, the future is unclear.
 
"[We plan to] demolish that entire structure, rebuild a new structure in its place and also have a pedestrian walkway that would connect with the city's Art & Cultural Trail,” Kerrns said.
 
USMH is currently raising money to turn the old Walnut Street Clinic into a functioning lab for nurse practitioners and physician assistant programs.

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