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Town Purchases Main Street Building, Readies for Relocation

The Board of Commissioners voted 4–1 to purchase the building for $1 million.

What can $1 million get you these days? In Bel Air, it can buy a property in the heart of Main Street.

The town’s Board of Commissioners recently voted 4–1 in a special closed session to authorize the purchase of the former building for $1.032 million. The property occupies 33–37 S. Main St. and is adjacent to the north side of the and across the street from the Harford County Circuit Court.

Only Commissioner Robert Reier voted against the purchase, which will be finalized later this year, according to Mayor David Carey. The 19,700 square-foot building is owned by North Carolina-based Branch Banking and Trust Company.

Town Administrator Chris Schlehr said the town plans to demolish the building before the end of the year to set the stage for a relocation of town hall. The top floor of the current town hall location—39 N. Hickory Avenue—would likely be taken over by the , which occupies the bottom floor.

There would be around 33 metered parking spaces, but the move would likely not happen for years, Schlehr said.

“Based on the economy I would say not until at least four or five years,” Schlehr said. “It’ll be well planned out.”

Schlehr and Carey said they hope to make the intersection of Main Street with Courtland and Office streets a “town center square.”

The purchase will be funded by a mix of the town’s unreserved funds and loans. The town has more than $2 million in its unreserved account, Schlehr said. The town will also acquire the parking lot alongside the Main Street Tower restaurant.

Carey said the town is getting a good deal.

“The last time we had it appraised, which was several months ago, the appraisal came out at $1.75 million,” he said.

Joan Ryder August 26, 2011 at 10:38 AM
Spend, spend, spend
Elizabeth (Lou) Creighton August 26, 2011 at 12:58 PM
I agree with Joan - spend, spend, spend. IF the increase in space for the police dept. will stop all the killings, robberies, assaults, shop-lifting, IF that were to happen then sure, spend, spend, etc. But is this the answer? Is this going to keep me safe? Will it keep another gun-toting hoodlum from coming to my house-again-where, through the grace of God, I was able to defend myself with an 8 oz. drinking glass as I stared into the barrel of a gun and bashed the fool in the head causing him to momentarily lose his balance so I could close and lock the door! He was never caught either...so...I repeat..will this move keep us Safer?
Richard Smith August 26, 2011 at 01:40 PM
Yes Joan. Spend $1.032 million for a building appraised $1.75 million. You would think someone in real estate would understand value.
steven bradley August 27, 2011 at 11:29 AM
It did not say anywhere in this article that the town of Bel Air had a deal to resell this building at a price higher then what they are paying for it. Your argument that they are buying value has no merit.

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