Ocean City Today

Wor. County hosts real estate tour

By Brian Gilliland | Nov 02, 2017
Photo by: Worcester County Economic Development Department Pocomoke City mayor Bruce Morrison leads a tour of available commercial real estate in town.

(Nov. 3, 2017) Available commercial properties in Pocomoke City, Snow Hill, Berlin, West Ocean City and Ocean City were pitched to about 50 developers and business representatives last Thursday as part of a revitalization tour that was last conducted in 2013.

Although no one opted-in immediately, Merry Mears, director of economic development for Worcester County, said the conversations were productive and the industry is primed to continue talks about bringing new businesses here.

“By putting ourselves out there now, we have connections we didn’t have before,” she said. “The local development community showed up — they want a platform or forum to talk with each other.”

Fresh from the tour, Mears said the next step is developing that forum, which will likely be a reception or networking event, and isn’t likely to be scheduled until next spring.

“In the past, we focused on the Route 50 corridor, but this time we went countywide,” she said.

Increased water and sewer capacity from the recently completed Riddle Farm wastewater treatment plant to service the shopping centers anchored by the Berlin Wal-Mart, Home Depot and other major retailers is expected to spark interest from other national brands.

Mears said the tour attendees were a step removed from the businesses directly, but have been known to do business with one or more of them simultaneously.

“We worked on this for many months, and people showed up and bought in,” she said. “It was an educational experience for us in the office to connect directly with developers, construction representatives, owners and the communities. We have new and better connections, and the attendees do too.”

Previously, an outside consultant handled the real estate tour, while the new tour was done by county staff. Back in July, the Worcester County Commissioners approved a total cost of about $27,100 to fund the tour and the production of videos shown to participants while they were escorted around Worcester in a bus.

Keeping the tour in-house saved about $4,000, Mears said.

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