Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Auction of former Fairchild plant canceled: Hagerstown Regional Airport (KHGR), Washington County, Maryland


The auction of a former aircraft-manufacturing plant at the Hagerstown Regional Airport was canceled Tuesday due to the owner filing bankruptcy earlier this week, according to the auctioneer.

Gil Schwartzman, executive vice president of Fox Commercial Auctions, said the potential sale of the complex that once housed the Fairchild Aircraft Co. and employed thousands would be delayed anywhere from one to six months while federal bankruptcy court in Maryland rules on the case.

"Once bankruptcy is filed, there's an automatic stay in the bankruptcy code," he said. "The automatic stay prevents anybody from taking any action until the federal court adjudicates what should happen in the case."


Tuesday's foreclosure auction was for Unit 2 in what is generally known now as the Top Flight Air Park, a 41.9-acre parcel with a one-story building encompassing nearly 800,000 square feet of general industrial, warehouse and some office space.

The sale was not to include office areas in the front of the complex at 18450 Showalter Road.

The property at 18450 Showalter Road, zoned for general industrial use, is adjacent to the airport, between Interstate 81 and U.S. 11.

Fairchild had operated a factory there until the mid-1980s, building training planes and then cargo and other aircraft during World War II, according to John Seburn, president of the Hagerstown Aviation Museum.

At one point, the plant employed 10,000 people and was the largest employer in Washington County, Seburn said.

After Fairchild's closure, the property was turned over to the Maryland Economic Development Corp., which then sold it in 1986 for $4.7 million to First Flight Limited Partnership.

A Maryland Department of Commerce business-properties report lists Birchwood Management as the owner/broker of the property.

An official with the limited-liability corporation based in Virginia had no comment when reached Tuesday.

Only a few people showed up for the auction, unaware that it had been canceled. It was to begin at 11 a.m. in front of the Washington County Circuit Courthouse.

One of them was Paul Perini, who owns land across from the property along Showalter Road, where he's looking to attract commercial and industrial clients for the planned Vista Business Park.

"I just came to find out more about the sale," said Perini, adding that he hopes to see the property get turned over to the county, which owns the airport.

Perini said he would like to see demolition of the aging structure, priming the large tract of land for new airport-related uses.

"The demolition would be complimentary to the airport and the Vista Business Park," he said.


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