For almost four years, the two run-down brick buildings at the corner of Crain Highway and Central Avenue have ranked among Glen Burnie'stop eyesores.
Boarded-up windows, decaying wood trim, graffiti-painted walls and cracked sidewalks stand in stark contrast to the manytidy businesses located nearby.
Activists committed to cleaning up downtown Glen Burnie have clenched their teeth as they've passed by year after year, hoping someonewould buy and renovate the buildings.
And now, it appears, someone is ready to.
The Charles Group Inc., a Glen Burnie home buildingand remodeling business, will settle on the two attached brick buildings within the next two weeks. Owner Charles M. Schurman said he expects to begin extensive renovations within 30 days and will move his business into one of the two buildings within the next three months.
Next door on Central Avenue sits a square brick building -- once the Glen Burnie Post Office -- which also has seen better days.
Although this building has been vacant only since June, the front windows already have been broken and pink and blue graffiti spray-painted on the walls.
Another Glen Burnie businessman, Ron W. Freeland, plans to relocate his shop, The Bike Peddlers, into the former post office. Freeland said he had hoped to be in his new shop by November, butthe deal has been held up by zoning paperwork.
The Attman Properties Co. in Pasadena, which owns the parcel on which all three buildings are located, had to subdivide the property to sell to two different owners, Freeland said. The subdivision has held up the deals for months, he added, but all the paperwork is just about finished.
Freeland said the purchase price and renovation costs for his building will run about $225,000. He plans to replace all the windows and doors,put in new electricity, heating and air conditioning and paint and upgrade the exterior. He will turn the first floor into the shop's showroom and the basement into an assembly area and storeroom.
"I'm certainly a fan of recycling a building if you can do it," Freeland said, adding that the structure is well-built and needs cosmetic work more than anything else.
Schurman, who has more extensive renovations to make on the other two buildings, declined to comment on the purchase price or renovation costs. The renovations will include guttingand redoing the interiors of both buildings, replacing the windows, doors and wood trim, repairing the roof and adding new plumbing and electricity.
Because Schurman is in the remodeling business, the project did not daunt him. "We do all kinds of remodeling work," he said. "Most of the work will be easy."
Schurman plans to move his business into the taller of the two buildings and rent out the two floors of the shorter building. He doesn't have tenants yet, he said, because the building has been too run-down to show. Once the renovations are complete, which will take 45 to 60 days, he will advertise for tenants, he said.
His business will double its office space from 1,200 to 2,400 square feet when it moves from its current location on Greenway into the renovated building, Schurman said. He also was attracted to the Crain Highway-Central Avenue site because of the high volume of traffic that passes by, a good way to pick up new business.
Freeland, whose business has been on Delaware Avenue for 20 years, said he was attracted to the site on Central Avenue because it is larger -- almost 3,800 square feet compared with 1,700 -- and because he could own his own building. The building is close to the B & A Hiker-Biker Trail, which Freeland thought would be an appropriate place for a bicycle shop.
Glen Burnie activists are relieved plans for the buildings have been finalized.
"That (corner) certainly was an eyesore," said Muriel Carter, president of the Glen Burnie Improvement Association. "We're glad they're moving ahead."