Warren County EDA to purchase two sites for over $8 million

FRONT ROYAL – The Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority  approved the purchase of two parcels of land for $8.3 million Friday.

After nearly an hour in closed session during its regular monthly meeting, the EDA voted to purchase 14 acres at 426 Baugh Drive for $5.3 million and just over one acre at 999 Shenandoah Shores Road in the Happy Creek Technology Park for $3 million.

The Baugh Drive site is occupied by Atlantic Exhibits, a company specializing in trade show exhibits. EDA executive director Jennifer McDonald said the company would remain there until January 2019.

McDonald said the EDA does have another tenant lined up to fill the space when Atlantic Exhibits leaves.

The location in the Happy Creek Technology Park, also known as the “Hipp Building,” is owned by Ranson 5 LLC, according to the county’s GIS system. McDonald declined to name the company that is expected to move into the location.

The EDA discussed the future of the Afton Inn in a closed session, but did not vote on any plan of action Friday.

Also at the meeting Friday of the EDA, County Administrator Doug Stanley praised the EDA’s successes with big-name companies such as IT Federal, Marriott and, most recently, Chik-fil-A.

Stanley sounded confident as he predicted that “2018 (seems like it will be) one of our busiest and most successful years in a while.”

Stanley also updated the EDA on several new businesses in the area.

Michael’s has acquired all necessary permits and is now renovating the old Staples building in Crooked Run Plaza, Stanley said, and the Front Royal Brewing Company is slated to open on Main Street in Front Royal in February.

Also at the meeting Friday:

  • Front Royal town manager Joe Waltz said the town was pleased to receive a community development block grant for $700,000, but is looking for ways to make up the difference from its initial asking amount of $1 million.
  • The EDA discussed redrafting its strategic plan. Normally the group revisits the plan every two years, but has recently delayed because of its membership’s recent high turnover.