FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) transfers ownership of the 591-acre property to PenMar Development Corporation for redevelopment of the site to create jobs and enhance the community.
Fort Ritchie, MD-July 24, 2012- PenMar Development Corporation (PMDC) announces a settlement returning the former Fort Ritchie military base to PMDC effective July 24, 2012. Part of a former military base deactivated by the BRAC commission in 1996, the property consists of 591 acres, including on-site buildings, a water system and a community center. The property was initially transferred to PMDC, who in turn sold the property to COPT in 2006 for nine million dollars - five million dollars at time of sale and four million dollars due in 2016.
PMDC has met with several marketing firms to formulate a strategy for making immediate use of the property as well as its long term redevelopment. Various options will be analyzed to ensure the property will be used to create jobs and enhance the mountaintop community and the region. Based on professional guidance and community input, the group anticipates that such a strategy will evolve in the next six months.
"We have been working with COPT for several months to devise a mutually beneficial solution to the Fort Ritchie redevelopment," says Sam Cool, Chairman of the Board of Pen Mar Development Corporation.
Cool also notes that the initial $5 million purchase installment by COPT has greatly benefited the mountaintop community. Part of the proceeds were donated to area fire companies, helped to build the Fort Ritchie Community Center, and aided in the renovation of Cascade Elementary School.
"PMDC has been actively investigating for several months the status of the property, including the residential components, infrastructure and commercial/industrial units," Cool explains. "The viability of the roadway system, electrical supply, water supply, and sewage capacity were studied extensively with careful attention to the stability of the lakes and the impounding dams associated with them. The Board of Directors feels that it is in the best interest of the property and community to reassume the ownership based on our findings."
The community in the surrounding area is of vital concern to the PMDC, and in the next few weeks, the organization plans to meet with tenants on the property as well as the community as a whole to spread awareness of the property's status and to answer questions and hear any ideas.
As part of their comprehensive planning, PMDC is working with partners in federal, state and county government to keep them abreast of developments and to forge a working relationship as the organization moves forward in redeveloping the property for civilian use.
The Fort Ritchie Community Center has become a focal point of the community, and PMDC will continue to work with it as it grows and develops into a self-sustaining entity. Efforts to redevelop the total property are enhanced by the success of the community center and the quality of life that it provides for the community in and around the former Fort Ritchie property.
About PenMar Development Corporation:
The PenMar Development Corporation was established as a public instrumentality of the State in May 1997 (Chapter 737, Acts of 1997).
Fort Ritchie began in 1926 as a brigade training area for the Maryland National Guard. Named to honor Governor Albert C. Ritchie, Camp Ritchie was activated in June 1942 as a Military Intelligence Training Center of the U.S. War Department. From 1945 to 1948, the post again was used as a training station for the Maryland National Guard. To support the Alternate Joint Communications Center in Pennsylvania, the U.S. Army acquired the Fort in 1948. Later, headquarters for the Communications Command Continental United States of the U.S. Army transferred from Alexandria, Virginia, to Fort Ritchie in 1971. The Fort ceased operating as a military installation on September 30, 1998.
The Corporation's Board of Directors consists of eighteen members. Fifteen are appointed by the Board of County Commissioners of Washington County, Maryland. Three serve ex officio (Code Economic Development Article, secs. 11-501 through 11-520).
PenMar Development Corporation
P.O. Box 699
14320 Barrick Avenue
Cascade, MD 21719