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Laurel Looks To Sell Former Police HQ Building

The city seeks to sell the building to an Ohio firm for $2.3 million.

A new mixed-use development could be in the works for the City of Laurel after officials began wooing a developer to purchase the old police headquarters building near Main Street.

During last night’s Laurel Council meeting, city officials introduced a motion declaring the property on 350 Municipal Square as a surplus property intending to sell it for $2.3 million.

The property is about 12,000 square-feet and was originally a Safeway Store before becoming City Hall in the 1950s. More recently, it was used as police headquarters until police moved to a new building on 5th Street. According to the resolution, the city has no use for the building and it has no historical significance despite being close to its historic district.

Mayor Craig Moe has been brokering a deal to sell the building to Ohio-based Klingbeil Capital Management.  The site sits a few blocks from the Laurel MARC station and would be a part of the city’s arts district.

“I’d like to see something that would bring foot traffic,” Moe said. “There’s quite a few options.”

The property sits in an area that the city has been trying to . Moe said it’s still too early to know what the property could be used for but he would like to see a residential component included.

A second hearing and final vote to authorize the sale of the property is scheduled for Feb. 13 at the .

John Floyd II January 25, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Chances are, Mr Norton, a developer will do just that. It's not the 62-year-old structure that's valuable, but the land beneath and around it. I do believe that property is within what's referred to as a "100-year flood plain" (hence part of its unsuitability as a site for the new library), but waters from the worst Patuxent River floods over the past century (Agnes in 1972, Eloise in 1975, and Isabel in 2003) never came close to reaching Municipal Square. Tanisha's got the right idea for a mixed-use project, given its walking proximity to downtown Main Street businesses, the MARC railway station (accounting for over 1,000 of the Camden Line's average weekday passenger trips), and several local commuter bus lines. Originally, the building that houses Revere bank at Main and A Streets was intended as mixed-use with rental flats on the top floor, however that excellent opportunity was lost when the entire structure became commercial space. One can hope for a better outcome with Municipal Square that could spur revitalisation of C and B Streets and bolster the recession-battered businesses along lower Main Street.
Matt Norton January 25, 2012 at 05:21 PM
John, the reason I commented above was simply to put my voice behind the idea of rethinking Main St's existing layout. I am a big fan of New Urbanism, and I think Laurel has an amazing amount of potential. Many of Laurel's historic structures are wonderful and I expect able to be restored / repurposed. I don't personally think the old police building is worth saving if it stands in the way of a major Main St. revitalization project that would "bring foot traffic" as Mayor Moe states. I don't know what would be possible from a site plan perspective. Perhaps tearing the building down would not be necessary if the building could be repurposed and the rest of that property could be built up as mixed use. My main hope for Main St. though is to see a focus on Public Space.
John Floyd II January 25, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Quite right! That massively-modified building is, as we Englishmen say, "past it" and is well beyond its practical life. One need only to hear the "war stories" of Laurel Police constables who worked there in its final years as Police HQ to get a real sense of the structure's many flaws and issues (roof leaks, unusual odours, mould, plumbing and electrical problems, etc.). It would indeed be better to clear the site and start anew - there is much potential on Municipal Square.
Antonio Washington January 26, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Mr. Floyd, You write: "given its walking proximity to downtown Main Street businesses". What businesses would I walk to? All I see our chiropractors, lawyers, real estate offices and junky NAPA Auto part and mediacl supply store. Oh yeah..the halfway houses are also prevalent. The city can't force these tenants out, but they could make it more appealing for new tenants. Shut down all of the side streets to reduce thru traffic. Build a parking garage with the revenue generated going back to main street. I'd love to try the new italian restaurant, but have no where to park. Why not look at other community with thriving main streets and do like them? Silver Spring? Old town Alexandera.
Antonio Washington January 26, 2012 at 12:29 PM
And consignment shops. A new junk shop opens on main street every week to take the place of a failed one that opened and closed the week before. Still curious where I would walk.

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