Frostburg finds potential Au Petit buyer

Frostburg officials approved the sale Monday of the Nickel Building, which once housed the Au Petit restaurant.

FROSTBURG — Frostburg’s mayor and City Council reviewed Thursday a proposal to buy the Nickel Building, a three-story building located at 84 E. Main St., which was once home to Au Petit Paris restaurant, for $40,000.

Due to scheduling conflicts, rather than vote on the proposal at the monthly City Council meeting Thursday, the council plans to hold a special meeting Oct.19 to decide.

The city had purchased the building in partnership with Allegany County in 2017, but has found it hard to find a suitable buyer. Until recently, the building had grant money attached to it, which placed safeguards and stipulations on it that provided very little in terms of leeway to finding potential bidders.

With the consent of the council, the city removed the grant money and accepted price proposals on the Au Petit from July through mid-September, with the option to provide a narrative on what the potential buyer plans to do with the building. The city received two bids. 

Elizabeth Stahlman, the city’s administrator, said she sent out the bids with any identifying information stripped from them to four local individuals familiar with business planning and economic development and asked them for recommendations.

“All four of them unanimously and separately recommended what we referred to as Proposal B, which was submitted by Larry and Meagan Guthrie,” said Stahlman.

The Guthries’ proposal calls for “rehabilitating the building to house six new businesses of different kinds” and “will be able to house three small shops, a full service restaurant and two other businesses.”

The plan also proposes to add luxury apartments to the top two floors of the building. The Guthries previously rehabilitated the building at 113 Main St.

In the offer, the Guthries said they plan to invest no less than $400,000 in the first two years and would like to have the project completed by 2023. 

Part of the reason for the special meeting is that two council members, Kevin Grove and Donny Carter, said they would most likely recuse themselves from the vote, so as not to have conflicts of interest. Grove said he has family ties to the Guthries and Carter submitted the competing bid.

Follow staff writer Brandon Glass on Twitter @Bglass13.

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