Study assesses condition of Afton Inn

FRONT ROYAL – A consultant says at least part of the historic Afton Inn remains usable though the entire building needs work.

The Front Royal Warren County Economic Development Authority sought the assistance of Skyline Management LLC to conduct a limited property survey of the Afton Inn on Main Street. Skyline Management submitted its survey with recommendations to the EDA. The Daily received a copy of the report Wednesday.

The survey includes recommendations by the consultants regarding the condition of the building and site, safety and compliance issues, environmental concerns and the cost of renovations identified in the report. However, the consultants note in the July 12 letter accompanying the report that the information and scope provided limited their opinions and recommendations. Skyline representatives made multiple visits to the site to conduct a closer inspection. The limited survey might help aid in planning and renovations, the letter states.

Skyline’s areas of concern with the property include asbestos, PCBs, lead-based paint, lead in drinking water and imported materials. The consultants noted that they might have identified through a limited visual screen areas in the building that could contain asbestos. The environmental assessment showed a potential problem with radon.

Skyline recommends:
• An inspection and testing for asbestos that could take five days and cost $5,000-$10,000

• Testing the caulking materials for PCBs at a cost of about $5,000

• Testing and inspection under the full Department of Housing and Urban Development guidelines at approximately $8,000

• Testing all water lines within the property at about $5,000

• Random testing of the property to assure banned materials have not been imported or used for replacement, repair or renovation in newer buildings

The consultants note in the report that they needed input from a professional architect and structural engineer.

“This structure has been damaged by a fire in the roof area and many years of neglect that has resulted in water damage to the interior as well as the masonry façade in many areas,” the report states. “After lengthily (sic) discussions it has been agreed upon that the structure can be saved in part and rehabilitated for possible commercial and/or residential use.

“To accomplish this task it is necessary to stabilize all structural walls from the from the crawl space area to the roof before starting the selective demolition,” the report goes on to state.

The consultants estimate that restoration and partial demolition of the structure could cost roughly $1.62 million.

The consultants conclude that the best use of the structure would include saving the façade and constructing a new addition.

“The structure has a caricature that we feel can be of value during its rebirth process,” the report states. “Saving as much of the façade, windows, doors and exterior trim helps in keeping with the historic streetscape of Front Royal.”

The consultants investigated the possibility of obtaining state or federal tax credits for the project but no original drawings or photos of the structure exist to show how the building appeared originally. Exterior and interior changes including demolition and masonry patching also altered the structure’s appearance, the report states.

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