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Investor helps firm developing Strasburg land

By Alex Bridges

A development firm can keep its land in Strasburg and continue searching for business prospects, thanks to a private investor.

Herbert Springs Company of Alexandria bought the bank notes for parcels totaling 77 acres of land in the North Shenandoah Industrial and Business Park earlier this month, just days before a scheduled trustees sale for the property. The terms of the agreement between the investor and the bank that held the property were not available.

The 77 acres of land, which is near railroad tracks and Interstate 81, is in the industrial park annexed by the town in late 2013.

The Strasburg Commercial Development Company, based in Vienna, Virginia, bought the land in 2008. The Vienna firm filed for bankruptcy protection last December and the parcels fell into foreclosure.

The private investor's action allows the Strasburg Commercial Development Company to retain ownership of the property. Martin Turk, managing member of the Strasburg Commercial Development Company, said Friday the firm would continue its effort to find users for the property.

"We're moving forward and we're talking to various prospective tenants now and we're trying to attract a supermarket or another type user that would commit to the property," Turk said.

The economic downturn a few years ago made it difficult to find developers, Turk recalled.

"But today's a little different -- the economy's improving," Turk said. "Residential development's coming back to the area and there are a lot of positives going on with the town of Strasburg and the county and I think growth is coming and I think we're going to be a part of it with that site."

A shopping center on the property could help the town and the county, Turk said. The property's visibility from the interstate should attract potential developers, Turk noted. Interest in the property's development has increased but Turk said he didn't want to disclose the names of any of the potential tenants for the property. Turk said he also is aware of the work underway by the town to gather input from residents and property owners as to what they feel Strasburg needs. Many people who have participated in local surveys and input meetings have said the town needs a grocery store.

Strasburg's Economic Development and Planning Manager Kimberly Murray says the property could play a crucial role in bringing businesses into the park.

"We think if we get an anchor tenant on that commercial piece it will help spur development in the rest of the park," Murray said.

Murray has worked with the developers for the past year and the recent action by the investor means that can continue without interruption. Turk said the working relationship between the developers and the town has been beneficial.

"I look at it as a joint project," Turk said. "We have a common interest to make that a quality center that I personally would be proud of and the town itself would be proud of. So we want to work together and have something there that we would all like and enjoy."

Activity on the property could begin in the near future once the firm lines up the tenants and works with the town to obtain the needed approvals, Turk said.

"Now that we're refocused and the economy's coming back we're looking to try to get something going and to break ground within the next 18 months," Turk said.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com

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