Aug. 5—CUMBERLAND, Md. — Two Cumberland businessmen have purchased the former M&T Bank building on the downtown pedestrian mall with plans to develop the structure into a mixed residential and commercial establishment.
The acquisition of the five-story building, located at 118 Baltimore St., is the second purchase of key downtown real estate by partners Chris Hendershot and Garrett Eagan. The partners are currently putting finishing touches on a $3 million renovation of the McMullen Building at 138 Baltimore St.
Their latest acquisition is the 44,000-square-foot former bank building which was owned by the Cumberland Economic Development Corporation, who purchased it in 2019 for $500,000.
CEDC officials sold the building to CG Enterprises, Hendershot and Eagan's company, for $500,000 with the closing taking place on Aug. 3.
"Our intent from the beginning of this project (when we purchased the property from M&T) was not necessarily to profit from this transaction, but to re-establish the building as a community asset and focal point in downtown," said Matt Miller, CEDC executive director. "In order to accomplish this, we needed to partner with a developer who has bought into the city's vision for the future of downtown. CG Enterprises has already established a proven track record in that regard."
The owners of eight Cartridges Galore gaming stores throughout the region, Hendershot and Eagan began investing in real estate in 2020.
The former bank building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1898 and housed the Rosenbaum Department Store for decades.
"It's a magnificent property with a lot of history," said Hendershot. "When we got a chance to acquire it and work with the CEDC we were really excited to continue our revitalization efforts. It's an exciting time and it's nice to have the support of the city behind us."
The building has an open atrium that extends the entire five floors making it the only building with the feature in the county.
"We plan on having 10-15 Airbnb rooms ... very high-end hotel-style rooms to rent and then we also plan on having about 10-15 long-term residential luxury apartments to lease," said Hendershot. "So the upper floors will be residential and the lower floors will be commercial and office spaces."
Redevelopment plans include a first floor restaurant and evening lounge, a gift shop and retail spaces. The second floor will house office spaces with the third floor containing short-term residential units and luxury apartments on the fourth floor.
"The fifth floor is currently being used to house mechanical equipment but we are looking to add more residential apartments on that floor as well," said Hendershot. "The work will be done in phases. We are ready to begin immediately on the first and second floor."
Hendershot said the building has been well maintained but it will require work to meet their vision. He estimates the project to cost between $4 million and $5 million when complete.
"It's a win-win for everyone one," said Eagan. "The CEDC and the city saw our vision and knew we had what it takes to get things done."
The downtown mall is expected to undergo a $10 million renovation beginning later this year or in the spring.
"I think the time is right," said Eagan. "For many years when the Kelly-Springfield closed people said we need industry ... we agreed. But we're seeing it can be different. It won't be the same as it was before, but it can be something in the long run that can be great. You see the expansion taking place at Northrop Grumman, IBM and FedEx ... it's positive news."
Eagan said it is important to have people working and living in the downtown.
"There is a need for market-rate housing and the time is now to move and act," said Eagan. "Baltimore Street is close to the GAP Trail, C&O Canal and Potomac River. The (Western Maryland) scenic railroad is drawing a lot of people in. With the downtown, it can become a focal point, a hub and meeting place for people.
"What we have needed, and what officials have realized, is you stack small projects here and there and they are singles that can turn into a home run."
Greg Larry is a reporter at the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @GregLarryCTN.