SYKESVILLE - Plans for a restaurant in the historic train depot were back on track Wednesday after a snag was resolved on terms of a state loan earmarked for building renovations.
At a meeting with town officials late Thursday, the businessmen behind the restaurant project, Charles Cullum and Jack Saum, agreed to a personal guaranty in case of default on the $180,000 loan the town received from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
In July, the developers had agreed that their corporation, Cullum Enterprises Inc., would be responsible for the loan in the event of a default.
But last week, on the eve of the settlement date for the loan agreement, town officials met during a special session to consider requiring a personal guaranty as well. During Thursday's meeting, town administrators, along with Cullum, Saum and their attorney, reached agreement on terms for the loan. A settlement is expected to be completed early next week.
"They accepted the alternative and everything was resolved," Town Manager James L. Schumacher said Thursday. "The biggest thing we have to do is to revise the loan agreement. Then we'll schedule a settlement date, which should be right away, maybe Monday or Tuesday."
The loan snag is the latest in a series of unforeseen obstacles Cullum and Saum have had to clear in their efforts to move forward with plans for Baldwin's, a Victorian-style restaurant scheduled to open March 1.
In July, after the state awarded the loan to Sykesville, the Town Council agreed in principle to turn the money over to Cullum and Saum only after calling an emergency meeting and deciding to place a state lien on the money.
Also, plans were stalled last spring when the South Carroll sewer moratorium prohibited installation of a sewer tap needed for the restaurant. But in June, the County Commissioners approved a waiver of the moratorium, allowing the existing -inch waterline to be replaced with a 2-inch line.
"I think I could write a book on it all," Saum said Thursday. "It's certainly been an emotional roller coaster, and at this point we're waiting for everything to be finalized before we celebrate."
The town owns the 106-year-old depot, which will be rented to Cullum and Saum for $500 a month or 2 percent of Baldwin's gross sales, whichever is greater. The two men signed a 25-year lease for the building.
Saum estimated that it will cost about $300,000 to prepare the restaurant for opening, including the $180,000 from the state. If the loan agreement is settled promptly, preparation of the building could begin this week, he said.