HAGERSTOWN —A former Hagerstown hotel building on Dual Highway will used for the next year as a training site for specialized city and Washington County police exercises.
The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with the property’s owner to allow city police and the county Sheriff’s Office to conduct SWAT and county Special Response Team training at the now-vacant Hagerstown Hotel and Convention Center building at 1910 Dual Highway.
By a 4-0 vote, the approved MOU contains an agreement, release and waiver liability for the exclusive use of the property by police. Councilman Martin Brubaker was not in attendance due to illness.
According to the MOU, which will remain in effect until Nov. 15, 2013, the training would take place indoors only with no external damage to the hotel or to any doors or windows that exit to the exterior allowed.
The owner of the 6-acre property, DFIN, LLC, has informed the city that it intends to demolish the building “at some point in the future and would not seek compensation for any catastrophic loss of the hotel for any cause,” according to the MOU.
City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said it’s not uncommon for police to use vacant buildings that will be demolished at a later date for training purposes.
“It’s part of our training programs and something we’ve been part of in the past,” Zimmerman said.
DFIN purchased the property earlier this year from VFC Partners 8 LLC. A DFIN official at that time declined to give the sale price.
According to the MOU, the listed address for DFIN is 10307 Auto Place, which is also the address of Hagerstown Honda and Hagerstown Kia.
Currently, more than a dozen new vehicles are parked on the property and all entrances are roped off.
Back in August when the sale was announced, DFIN vice president Bill Barnes told the Herald-Mail that the limited liability company had not decided what to do with the property.
The hotel just east of Hagerstown closed in mid-August at the order of the management company of its previous owner, according to Herald-Mail archives.
VFC Partners 8 LLC bought the property for $2 million in a foreclosure auction in April 2011 and took possession two months later.