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Cardin: Effort to reuse Fort Ritchie Army based has failed

HAGERSTOWN — U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin says a private company’s redevelopment plan for the former Fort Ritchie Army base has apparently failed.

The Herald-Mail newspaper of Hagerstown reports in Tuesday’s newspaper that Cardin says the nearly 600-acre property in Cascade may revert back to PenMar Development Corp., a state-sponsored redevelopment authority.

PenMar’s board met privately Monday with officials of Columbia-based Corporate Office Properties Trust. COPT agreed in 2006 to buy the mountaintop property for mixed-use redevelopment. The company said last year it doesn’t expect to recover its $28 million investment.

The Army closed Fort Ritchie in 1998. Redevelopment plans have been stalled by legal and environmental issues. Those issues include the military’s revelation that it tested Agent Orange and other tactical herbicides at Fort Ritchie decades ago.