By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer
(Sept. 15, 2022) With demolition plans moving along, the Berlin Mayor and Town Council voted 4-1 on Monday to terminate a lease for a portion of the former Tyson chicken processing plant with Burley Oak owner Bryan Brushmiller.
Councilmember Troy Purnell voted in opposition.
Back in 2020, Brushmiller requested and received a three-year lease on 7,000 square feet of the building plus adjacent parking spots. The lease was set to expire on June 29, 2023.
“The reason this came to my attention was, as you know, we got a $500,000 demolition grant to knock that building down, and we’re starting to formulate a (requests for proposals) and get everything rolling,” Town Attorney David Gaskill said to the mayor and council. “I didn’t want to overlook this. We may be in the process, prior to the end of the lease where we’re ready to knock this down and he’s still there.
“He’s been a good tenant, it’s nothing personal here but I just think it’s prudent for the council to consider exercising that 90-day kick-out clause, and, that way, we’ll be covered.”
Brushmiller uses the space for dry storage, Gaskill added.
Town administrator Mary Bohlen told the council that they’re discussing the lease termination publicly because the lease was approved publicly.
The demolition of the 60-acre Tyson property has been a long time coming. The Town of Berlin purchased the property in 2014, 11 years after the plant shuttered in 2003, with the hopes of transforming it into a park.
Now, the town has funding from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s FY22 State Revitalization Program to level the plant. Town officials first learned about it last December.
“We were very excited to read the governor’s press release and learn of the approval of our grant application for this project,” Mayor Zack Tyndall said in a statement last year. “Town staff worked very hard on the application, and we look forward to receiving the official notification of approval before proceeding.”
The future of the property remains unclear, but there have been discussions for developing the two parcels of land that comprise Heron Park — one of which being the site of the plant.