Board of Architectural Review to consider Afton Inn plans

Traffic moves past theAfton Inn at the intersection of Royal Avenue and Main Street in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Renovation plans for the Afton Inn are progressing, as the developer and the Board of Architectural Review will hash out details Tuesday.

An EDA news release states that plans call for the demolition of the annexation facing North Royal Avenue while the original four walls will remain. Town Planning Director Jeremy Camp said over the phone that plans include preservation of the structure, demolition and a “non-historic addition.” Also included, he said, are upper-floor apartments, mid-level offices and a ground-floor restaurant and meeting room.

The release states that initial phases call for stabilization and strengthening of the structure while the renovations and addition will come later.

According to previous reports, this is a revision of the original plans that called for a complete demolition when the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority announced MODE Partnership LLC. as the developer in July 2017. The Board of Architectural Review denied a demolition permit, citing the building’s historical elements.

The permit denial, however, was overturned by the Town Council in a September 2017 appeals hearing. It was announced in May that 2 East Main LLC, formerly known as MODE, would to both renovate and demolition portions of the structure.

Jennifer McDonald, EDA executive director, previously said that while the building will be salvaged, it may not maintain its current appearance.

According to previous reports, the EDA assumed marketing responsibilities for the Afton Inn when the property was traded with Frank Barros for the former Town Hall building on North Royal Avenue.

The EDA will maintain ownership of the building until construction is complete, at which point it will be turned over to the developer. EDA officials have explained that this will ensure plans are carried out and the building does not remain vacant.

Camp said the Board of Architectural Review will likely not hold a Tuesday vote regarding the plans. He said the architects submitted the plan to begin discussions in case any changes need to be made. He added that the plans would only go before the Town Council if the Board of Architectural Review voted them down.

As for when construction would begin, Camp said: “I don’t have that information.”

“It’s something we’ll discuss with them at the meeting … But it’s not really up to the town, as far as their schedule. That’s something we’re curious about as well,” he said.