Cumberland Times-News

March 28, 2013

Bank buys building after snag at auction

Greg Larry
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — The First Peoples Community Federal Credit Union purchased a commercial building on the downtown mall for $500,000 at a foreclosure auction at the Allegany County Courthouse on Thursday, when an interested party withheld a bid due to a lack of details on leases held by the current tenants.

The McMullen Building, at the northwest corner of the downtown mall, which is under a lien from First Peoples, was up for auction after it fell into default under its current owner, Larcorp LLC.

Attorney Greg Skidmore read the deed description of the three-story 59,000-square-foot building, prior to opening the bid at $500,000.

The Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation has placed a value of $1.4 million for the lot and building.

However, a potential buyer — a former resident — who wished to remain unidentified, asked for lease information concerning the five tenants.

With the information unavailable, the interested party was unable to receive the lease details and subsequently withheld his bid. According to auction rules, the auction continued.

First Peoples, with CEO Stacey Bingaman, Dave Robison and other officials present, stepped in to purchase the structure, known as 138-152 Baltimore St., at the $500,000 price to keep control of the building.

The party, who was present to bid, confirmed that interest remained if more information on the lease details could be provided.

At the end of the auction, the potential buyer immediately went into talks with bank officials.

Tenants in the building currently include the Allegany County One-Stop Job Center, which helps the unemployed find  jobs.

The individual who was interested in purchasing the McMullen Building continued to talk to bank officials.

Upon being contacted later in the day, the buyer declined to comment on what type of commerce for which he intended to utilize the building.

To purchase the structure at auction an on-the-spot cash or check deposit of $25,000 was required, with the balance due at closing.

The McMullen Building, which was once also referred to as the Saint Nicholas Hotel property in the deed description, was the former site of the GC Murphy’s department store.

Regis Larkin, the representative for Larcorp LLC, had been approached in recent years by an organization wanting to put a school in the building and an offer from the city of Cumberland to put a city market concept there. However, both deals never materialized.

The interested buyer, who said he does not live locally but has other business concerns in the area, said he is still interested in a possible deal for the building with First Peoples Credit Union.

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com