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Panel sees letter of intent from firm

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By Sally Voth

Front Royal Town Councilman Bret Hrbek on Monday continued to push his colleagues to collaborate with a private firm for economic development.

At a work session, he presented the panel with a letter of intent addressed to Tom Conkey, who is with Kratos Infrastructure, a McLean company. Conkey was a member of the Town Council, but didn't seek reelection last year.

Kratos managing partner and co-founder Michael Graham was fired as Front Royal town manager in September 2010. He said last week that he doesn't get involved in individual projects.

Hrbek first brought up the letter of intent at a council meeting last week. In a Feb. 27 interview, he said Kratos had been meeting with the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority and council members to talk about coming up with a strategic redevelopment plan.

Public-private partnerships would be used and a redevelopment authority created.

Hrbek said Kratos would help identify what the town needed and wanted development-wise, where it would go, help acquire property and recruit businesses.

The letter of intent states the negotiation of a comprehensive agreement would begin immediately after the execution of the letter. That agreement would have "various separate agreements."

These may include a comprehensive development agreement, the letter states, "some number of property purchase/lease agreements (should the Town own land that is to be developed), a Master Lease Agreement, and some number of Power Purchase Agreements."

It states all project costs would be financed by the partnership through private capital sources.

The letter stresses that all sides agree "time is of the essence." It calls for the town to appoint someone to be the primary contact point between it and Kratos, which is referred to as "Master Developer."

Within 30 days of the point of contact being identified to Kratos, the two would create a preliminary planning timeline within 30 days, according to the letter.

It anticipates predevelopment, or phase one, taking six to eight months, with phase two -- financing and construction -- taking place in two to three years after the first phase is complete.

During Monday's work session, Hrbek said the letter of intent was non-binding.

"All it does is tees it up to start the process so we can start talking to them in a more unified approach," he said. "It doesn't bind us to anything. I would like to have it on Monday's [council] agenda to vote."

Town Attorney Douglas Napier said he'd send out copies of some parts of the Code of Virginia that he thought applied on Tuesday. He said he'd point out some things he felt needed to be examined.

Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or svoth@nvdaily.com


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