Money woes halt Pumphrey House marketing deal GLEN BURNIE

January 18, 1993|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Staff Writer

A three-way agreement to help market and restore the landmark Thomas Pumphrey House has collapsed, leaving in the lurch the owner of the historic Glen Burnie property who is trying to sell the fire-ravaged, vandalized building.

"We're back, not to square one, but maybe square three or four," said Bill Steffey, a partner in Burwood Road Associates, which owns the 1863 house and its surrounding half acre.

The property on Furnace Branch Road is listed for sale at $100,000, but the house needs an estimated $224,700 in repairs.

An agreement among Burwood Road Associates, the county and the Anne Arundel County Trust for Preservation Inc. that was signed last year provided for help in selling the property and virtually guaranteed a buyer.

But the county's Scattered Sites Renewal Program, which would have provided up to $125,000 in no-interest or deferred loans for the property's buyer, is on hold due to budget constraints, said Kathleen Koch, assistant planning and zoning officer.

The preservation group, which had promised to buy the property itself if it couldn't find a buyer by next August, informed Burwood Road Associates last week that it is dropping out of the agreement.

"We have written Mr. Steffey and told him we are out of the contract," said Newell Cannon, chairman of the preservation group. "It's very sad."

She said her group lacks the money to buy the building, and the county's budget woes indicate the county will not be able to give the group the sizable grant it would need to take over the property.

Mr. Steffey said the current situation leaves his partnership "stuck." It cannot afford to restore the house and hope for a

buyer, he said.

"I guess the house will sit there until it falls down," he said. "We're just trying to market it."

When Burwood Road Associates bought the house and about 30 surrounding acres in the late 1980s to build Oak Leaf Villas, it signed an easement with the county not to raze the dilapidated building.

In the agreement signed last year, the county provided $20,000 for a feasibility and market study that was done in the fall, brochures and other marketing assistance, and for boarding up the house and clearing a pathway to it through the tangle of story-tall weeds and piles of trash.

The county also offered technical and historical assistance in the renovation.

What remains of the agreement is the feasibility study, which details repairs the house needs, neighborhood demographics and potentially viable business uses of the site, and which Mr. Steffey and Ms. Koch hope will entice a buyer.

Ms. Koch said the county is looking for state and federal loans and grants that could aid a buyer. But so far, there have been no offers on the property, Mr. Steffey said.

A man expressed interest in restoring it as a residence, and a Severna Park business looked at it with an eye toward relocating. Someone even inquired about the prospect of turning the house into a day-care center.

But those ideas have cooled. At least one of them faded strictly because the financial package that might have made it possible had vanished.

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