Cumberland Times-News

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April 2, 2013

State land fails to sell at auction

Bids placed on nearly 70 acres of land don't meet Maryland's minimum; Love's development continues

CUMBERLAND — Although three bids were placed on state-owned land off Interstate 68 near the Ali Ghan Shrine Club, none of the bids met a state minimum for the sale of the land.

The land has been declared surplus property and is being auctioned by the Department of Transportation.

The nearly 70-acre property lacks access to the interstate, state officials said.

“It was a failed auction,” said Carolyn Dalton, a clearance coordinator with the DOT. The auction took place March 27.

Bid amounts weren’t available, but the state had previously valued the property at $43,950.

The plot of land located on the north side of state Route 144, near relocated DeHaven Road, will be up for auction again July 10, Dalton said.

At the same time, planned development of the Turano property, a bit to the south, continues to move forward.

Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores, which wants to build a fuel station and convenience store at the site, purchased more than two acres for $1,625,000 last year, according to records with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.

In 2012, the Cumberland Municipal Planning and Zoning Commission gave a green light to Love’s to develop the site.

Love’s officials have previously said a groundbreaking is planned for this year.

Love’s has paid for an extension of a water line to its property, said City Director of Engineering John DiFonzo. The city will take over the line but is not paying for the installation.

“The project is moving along; however, we haven’t seen the final plans,” DiFonzo said. DiFonzo said the company has been working with the State Highway Administration to design entrances and exits from the property to I-68.

Site plans for the Love’s project include two restaurants — McDonald’s and Subway — as well as fueling stations for cars and trucks. Drawings show parking spaces for 78 cars and 96 trucks.

The city had been courting developers for the site for several years.

A Bethesda company proposed building Cumberland Crossing shopping center, which was to include at least one national chain; however, those plans were stalled after the economic downturn in 2008.

Love’s, headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., has more than 280 locations in 39 states, though none is in Maryland.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.

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