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Posted March 5, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

Letter of intent provides more details of development plan

By Sally Voth

A hospital, a solar field, restaurants, houses and a hotel are among the projects listed in a letter of intent Front Royal Town Councilman Bret Hrbek is pushing for his colleagues to sign with a McLean firm.

The letter states those "elements," which also include stores, multi-use development, parking, a wellness center, a medical office park, renovation of the former town hall, and a potable water and wastewater treatment facility, are discussion items and won't necessarily be built.

During the Feb. 25 Town Council meeting, Hrbek said he wanted the letter of intent to be added to the March 11 meeting agenda. Last week, he provided the statement he made at the meeting.

Members of the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority and the Town Council had been meeting with Kratos Infrastructure to discuss forming a public-private partnership to strategize redevelopment of the town, according to the statement.

At a Town Council work session on Monday, Hrbek reiterated his desire to see the letter of intent -- which he said was non-binding -- placed on next week's agenda.

Several members of Kratos' leadership team are familiar faces -- managing partner and co-founder Michael Graham was fired as Front Royal town manager in September 2010, Tom Conkey served on the Town Council until last year, and William Lauterbach was involved in the town's ill-fated SolAVerde project.

That's not the only connection to SolAVerde. In the letter of intent's project master plan description, a renewable energy park is listed as a potential development. It could consist of a solar field and a facility for converting solid waste to energy, according to the letter.

A medical district master plan could include a hospital, medical office park and wellness center. The tourism district master plan lists shops and restaurants, lodging, housing, multi-use development and parking.

A town infrastructure project could involve renovating the former town hall and a potable water and wastewater treatment facility, according to the letter.

Kratos would be responsible for providing Front Royal with a comprehensive development plan, which would have a concept plan, financing structure and timeline, according to the letter.

"Pursuant to the Comprehensive Agreement, the Town will convey all of its right, title and interest in and to the Properties controlled by the Town to the Master Developer pursuant to a sale or lease agreement between Town and the Master Developer, as necessary and mutually agreed," the letter states. It states the project will be funded by private capital.

And, the letter of intent implies procrastination isn't an option.

"The Parties agree that time is of the essence and that each will work in good faith to execute project agreements in a timely fashion," it states.

After the letter of intent is executed, the town would have 15-30 days to designate a primary point of contact between it and Kratos, which is referred to as the "Master Developer."

Within 30 days of the contact being appointed, Kratos and Front Royal would then create a preliminary planning timeline, according to the letter.

It states that only a "fully executed Comprehensive Agreement" can bind the two parties.

While he wouldn't specify examples on Tuesday, Town Attorney Douglas Napier said, "I've got some areas in the code [of Virginia] that I want to [point] out to the town council."

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

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