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Harford County acquires law firm’s building for $1.49 million

The Brown, Brown & Young building on South Main Street in Bel Air has been purchased by Harford County. The law firm is leasing back the property. (Submitted Photo)

The law firm of Brown, Brown & Young, P.A. is selling its Bel Air property to Harford County and plans to lease the building from the county.

The firm, which was founded and has been in Harford County since 1901, said it is looking to take advantage of the recent surge in property values.

The May 18 property sale, which was announced on July 11, was for $1.49 million, according to Cindy Mumby, director of governmental and community relations for Harford County. The property at 200 & 202 S. Main St. in Bel Air includes three buildings and two parking lots, according to a news release.

As part of the county code, two appraisals were required before a sale could be reached. One appraisal listed the property at $1.825 million, and the other was $1.49 million, which the two sides settled at.

Brown, Brown & Young will lease the property for now, until the county comes up with different plans for the space.

“We don’t have immediate plans to do anything with this property,” Mumby said. “The opportunity was offered to us.”

Mumby said that the purchase was mainly looking toward the county’s future space needs. If county officials ultimately decide they want to use the property for something else, Young said, the firm is confident it will be able to find a place to relocate.

The firm reached out to the county, which now owns the entire block the property is on, to gauge interest.

The terms of the lease are $10,700 per month, a figure that is about $16 per square foot. Mumby said the county looked at comparables in the area, and then took the average. The Brown law firm will be responsible for paying taxes and maintenance.

While the firm is selling the property, its normal business operations will not change at all.

“Nothing is going to change with the operation of the law firm,” said Albert J. A. Young, one of the principals of the law firm. “Brown, Brown and Young isn’t going anywhere.”

The only change caused by the sale is that the firm is now a tenant of the property, not the owner. Young said the firm will be able to renew its lease, though he noted that either the firm or the county can end the lease with a year’s notice.

“We’re pretty confident that we’re going to be here for a long time,” Young said. “And a year’s notice is plenty of time, if needed, to look. But we are not looking right now.”

The sale comes as property values in Harford County have increased considerably. In June 2022, the housing market was up 7.9% compared to the same time last year, real estate research firm Redfin said.