CASCADE, MD – What was once a dilapidated abandoned military fort only one year ago has transformed into a thriving, bustling community, but recent events have thrown Fort Ritchie into the spotlight again.
Fort Ritchie closed in 1998 under the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process implemented by the Department of Defense. The program was designed to improve DoD efficiency by coordinating the realignment and closure of military installations.
After closure, the base was transferred to PenMar Development Corporation, a public instrumentality of the State of Maryland, to oversee the development for civilian uses. PenMar Development Corporation transferred the base to a real estate investment trust, which attempted and ultimately failed to develop the property, transferring it back to PenMar.
In 2016, PenMar Development Corporation transferred Fort Ritchie to the Washington County Government, and JGBLI was hired as the Master Developer, ultimately acquiring 60 acres of Fort Ritchie from the Washington County Government at no cost. JGBLI showed the public their plan for a “smart city” including residential, academic, commercial, and even a resort area. For years JGBLI struggled to find additional investors, and declined purchasing the remaining approximately 500 acres. No publicly visible progress had been seen on JGBLI’s 60 acres of the fort.
In 2020, local resident John Krumpotich agreed to purchase the remainder of Fort Ritchie from the county for 1.85 million dollars. This purchase saw several legal challenges by another local resident, but was ultimately resolved and the purchase completed in April of 2021.
One year later, the section of the fort own by Krumpotich is bustling with activity and many historic buildings remodeled, ready for new tenants. The fort now holds regular events under the banner of “Ritchie Revival“, and one of the first businesses to open is an ice cream shop, offering hand dipped ice cream. Some of the regular events include an annual Wedding Show, as well as an annual “Summer Kickoff” event.
However, what should be celebrated as the one-year anniversary of the fort approaches, has now been met with controversy. Many local residents have taken to social media to express their displeasure at JGBLI recently listing for sale 6.81 acres of the property for $1.5 million dollars. The lot is described as “27 Townhouses and 4 Sites with Slab Foundation”. The listing states the houses need “minor repairs” and are being sold AS-IS. Photos featured on the listing appear to show new windows in the townhomes, but the property appears to be very overgrown. It is unknown how much work was performed on the townhomes.
Radio Free Hub City looks forward to the continued success and growth of Fort Ritchie and the Cascade area, and would like to invite you to come out for the June 25th and 26th Summer Kickoff celebration at Fort Ritchie. RFHC will be in attendance with games, prizes, and a whole lot of fun. We hope to see you there!