Cumberland Times-News

October 3, 2013

Commissioners approve PILOT agreement

Company remains on track to purchase, renovate Old Towne Manor

Matthew Bieniek
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — Allegany County commissioners on Thursday approved a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement with The Hampstead Companies aimed at renovating the Old Towne Manor apartments.

The PILOT agreement on Old Towne Manor keeps the current tax rate of $19,500 in effect for the next 17 years, with increases during that time tied to the consumer price index.

Patrick Harper, a representative of Hampstead, said Thursday that his company remains on track to purchase the apartments in the spring of 2014. Work on the renovations should begin shortly after the purchase is complete, Harper said.

The Hampstead Companies already owns rental properties in the area, including the former William Booth Tower (now Mountain View Apartments).

The company also recently bought The Cumberland Arms Apartments, a 69-unit retirement facility on Liberty Street, for $4.1 million.

Old Towne Manor has 138 apartments with a 95 percent-plus historical occupancy rate. The property has not been fully remodeled since construction in 1969, although windows and siding were replaced recently. The current apartments need kitchens, baths and other remodeling. A new community center is also planned for the property, Harper said. The cost of the upgrades will be about $35,000 per unit.

Harper has said the remodeling would likely generate 13 local jobs and 31 spin-off jobs.

Commissioners also approved a real estate option with Mid-Atlantic Health Care for an approximately 30- acre parcel of undeveloped property adjacent to Furnace Street in Cumberland. Mid-Atlantic, the owners of Allegany Health Nursing and Rehabilitation (AHNR), want to complete a feasibility study for the development of an “Active Lifestyles” retirement community in Cumberland, county officials said.

County commission president Michael McKay was not at the meeting because he was attending a meeting between the area’s legislative delegation and the Canal Place Preservation & Development Authority Board, of which he is a member. Thursday’s regular commission business meeting took place at 5 p.m. at the county office building on Kelly Road.

Matthew Bieniek can be contacted at mbieniek@times-news.com.