CUMBERLAND — Allegany County officials agreed Thursday to purchase a building in Lower Laval, formerly a FedEx distribution center, for $1.1 million.
The option to purchase the property was approved unanimously by the Allegany County Board of Commissioners during their bimonthly meeting held at the county office complex on Kelly Road.
“I am here to ask for approval of an agreement that is an option and sale agreement for 31 Lane Avenue,” said Jeff Barclay, the county’s economic development director.
“We’ve been negotiating this for a while, with the help of the county attorney, and we’ve gotten to the point where we have a 30-day option to make sure we’re good with everything,” Barclay said. “Then we can give notice that we would like to purchase the 36,649-square-foot building for $1.1 million.”
County officials announced in November 2021 that FedEx had agreed to establish a new distribution center in the Mexico Farms area of Allegany County. The 193,000-square-foot building was constructed on 40 acres on the corner of State Road 51 and Mexico Farms Road and opened in late 2022.
Buying the former FedEx site in lower LaVale could create business opportunities, Barclay said.
“The other thing we’ve been talking about for a while is (on-site) food collaborations,” Barclay said.
In June, county officials discussed the possibility of establishing a food and beverage manufacturing co-op in Allegany County. County officials then secured $200,000 from an Appalachian Regional Commission grant for the project.
The co-op facility, if developed, would provide space for warehousing, packaging, distribution and some manufacturing operations.
Allegany County has seen several beverage-related businesses open in the area in recent years, including 1812 Brewery, Western Maryland Lemonade, Locust Post and Dig Deep as well as Route 40 Brewing and Distilling Company.
The space provided by the co-op could help food and beverage companies expand, Barclay said in June.
Barkley cautioned Thursday that the plan is still in the early stages.
“We’re not completely committed to that being exactly what we’re doing, but that could be a possibility at least in part of the building,” he said. “We have some other possibilities as well, which is good for us.”
“This is a sale for tax purposes,” said Lee Beeman, the district attorney. “The seller is selling the property to us as a public entity at a discount, so they will receive a tax credit for the discount instead of selling to a private entity.”