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(Enlarge) Then-Sykesville Mayor Johnathan Herman is shown in 2005 at the ground breaking ceremony for land once owned by the Springfield Hospital Center, now slated for economic development by the Warfield Cultural and Commerce Center. Herman has signed on to lease and rehab the "G" building on the Warfield campus. (File photo / 2005)

This story has been updated.

The former mayor of Sykesville has become the latest tenant to sign on for a building in the Warfield Cultural and Commerce Center.

Carroll's Board of County Commissioners on Wednesday announced that Jonathan Herman, former Sykesville mayor, has signed a lease for the “G” building at the Warfield complex.

“The 'G’ Building, of all the buildings in Warfield, has always especially appealed to me more than any other buildings in the complex,” Herman said. “It has an aesthetic quality, an openness, which the other buildings don’t have. It sets up on top of a hill and has a lot of intrinsic qualities that I’ve always enjoyed.

"I’ve wanted to lease it for years, but it would have been a conflict of interest while I was mayor," he said.

The Warfield Complex is a joint effort between the Town of Sykesville, Carroll County and the state of Maryland to develop a corporate employment campus. It is owned by the town and managed by the Warfield Development Corporation (WDC), a private/public board of volunteers.

Herman was mayor when Sykesville took possession of former Springfield Hospital property and was active in leading town meetings to help determine what to do with the hospital tract, which includes 12 historic buildings and five open parcels along Route 32.

Warfield was formerly part of the Springfield Hospital Center. The town took control of Warfield from Maryland, as state officials released some of the Springfield land and surplus buildings.

There are currently two tenants located at Warfield, Nexion Healthcare and Carroll County Dance.

Herman's lease agreement, when finalized, will mark the first new tenant at Warfield in more than five years, though just a few weeks ago, Stavrou Associates, an Annapolis development firm, signed a letter of intent with the Warfield Development Corp. to retrofit four Warfield buildings — with about 46,000 square feet in all — for senior housing.

Herman has a six-month grace period during which he will “start looking for tenants and talking to banks and doing all my due diligence and feasibility stuff, to make sure it’s a doable project,” the former mayor said. “I’ll be working with a bank, and a bank will require some feasibility.”

Herman will take possession of the 7500-square-foot building under a 45-year lease with a renewal option for another 45 years.

The building’s stalwart brick exterior is in good shape, but the interior is a shambles. Herman estimates his costs for the renovation will be "a half a million dollars and up.”

Herman said that progress on developing Warfield, and on finalizing his lease, which took about a year of negotiations with both the town of Sykesville and the county, has dramatically picked up since Doug Howard took office as the first 5th District county commissioner. Howard represents Sykesville and Eldersburg, in South Carroll.

“Now that he has become our acting point person from the county on Warfield it means that we can be assured it’s going to move along more smoothly in the right direction,” Herman added.

Howard sees the Warfield complex as a vital key to South Carroll’s future economic development. He and his fellow commissioners recently voted to provide the Warfield Development Corporation with a $10,000 grant for legal work and a loan for $150,000 for infrastructure improvements. These latter improvements will include a driveway and parking lot for the “G” Building.

“This is a critical economic development project for our district and our county,” Commissioner Howard said in a statement. “It represents the type of good economic growth, high paying jobs and commercial tax base that will move Carroll County in the right direction.”
           
Howard also said that the renewed progress at Warfield “comes at a very good time, as the unprecedented growth at Fort Meade for BRAC, cybersecurity, defense media and defense information represents opportunities for new, existing and relocating businesses in Carroll County.”

In finding a tenant for the “G” Building, Herman says he has “two paths to go.”

“One is to find some local businesses that want to grow and need space." But more of a home run "would be to find one user, like somebody from BRAC or a larger corporation,” he said.

“It’s a 7500-square-foot building and it would be easier to renovate the building for one user than for multiple users.”

Herman said it will make the project a lot easier and more doable if he can find a tenant in the next six months. But even if he is unable to, he plans to go forward anyway. He has also signed options to lease two more buildings at Warfield.

“I don’t want to get rich from this; I’m much rather see this as a sort of stepping stone to get Warfield started,” he added.

He said securing a lease on the “G” Building has been a long, arduous process, “just because so many state and county agencies are involved. That makes it much more complicated and difficult than an ordinary purchase of a property.

But, he added, “I think if I’ve made it through (the process of leasing) one building, I can probably do multiple buildings.”

user comments (3)


user casualobserver says...

Mr. Joyner please finish the headline story - what is our former mayor going to do with the "G" Building?


user eagleedit1 says...

casualobserver: Thanks for the note. Bob Allen was able to talk to the former mayor today, so we've updated with a bit more details than we had initially. Thanks for reading. JJ


user casualobserver says...

eagleedit1 - Thank you for the follow up and the additional details. It looks like our former mayor is once again putting his money where his mouth is - always an admirable trait and too often missing in public figures. Mayor Herman was and obviously remains a strong advocate for Warfield. I wish him every success since his would also be the Town's.


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