County purchasing former FedEx building

Nov. 3—CUMBERLAND — Allegany County officials agreed Thursday to purchase a building in lower LaVale, formerly a distribution center for FedEx, for $1.1 million.

The option to purchase the property was unanimously approved by the Allegany County Board of Commissioners during their bimonthly meeting held at the county office complex on Kelly Road.

"I'm here to request to approve an agreement which is an option and sales agreement for 31 Lane Avenue," said Jeff Barclay, county economic development director.

"We've been negotiating with this for awhile now, with the county attorney's help, and we've got to the point where we have a 30-day option to make sure we are good with everything," said Barclay. "Then we can give notification that we would like to purchase, in the amount of $1.1 million, the 36,649 square-foot building."

County officials announced in November 2021 that FedEx had agreed to construct a new distribution center in the Mexico Farms area of Allegany County. The 193,000 square-foot building was constructed on 40 acres at the corner of state Route 51 and Mexico Farms Road and opened in late 2022.

Barclay said the purchase of the former FedEx site in lower LaVale could create business opportunities.

"The other thing we've been talking about for awhile is a food co-op (at the site)," said Barclay.

In June, county officials discussed the possibility of creating the Allegany County Food & Beverage Manufacturing Cooperative. County officials subsequently secured $200,000 in an Appalachian Regional Commission grant for the project.

The co-op facility, if developed, would provide space for storage, packaging, distribution and some manufacturing.

Allegany County has seen several beverage related companies open in the area in recent years, including 1812 Brewery, Western Maryland Lemonade, the Locust Post and Dig Deep breweries as well as the Route 40 Brewing and Distilling Company.

Barclay said in June that the space provided by the co-op could help food and beverage companies expand.

On Thursday, Barclay cautioned that the plan is still in the early stages.

"We're not fully committed that is exactly what we are doing but that could be a possibility at least in part of the building," he said. "We've have some other prospects as well so it's a good thing for us."

"This is a bargain sale for tax purposes," said Lee Beeman, county attorney. "The seller is selling the property to us as a public entity for a discounted price so they will receive a tax credit for the discount as opposed to selling to a private entity."

Greg Larry is a reporter at the Cumberland Times-News. To reach him, call 304-639-4951, email and follow him on Twitter @GregLarryCTN.