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Crews demolish Afton Inn annex

A part of the Afton Inn is being demolished this week. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – The Afton Inn’s road to renovation began this week as crews demolished the building’s annex that faces North Royal Avenue.

Jim Burton, of Carter + Burton Architecture PLC, said over the phone that demolition began with “precautionary saw cuts” that separated the approximately 1,000 square-foot annex from the main structure. He said this prevented potential damage to the main building, which will be renovated.  

Burton added the annex porch was removed prior to demolition, and its columns will be preserved and salvaged for future projects. Other preliminary work included asbestos removal from the floor tile.

The annex was demolished Thursday, and Burton said he hopes for it to be cleaned up by the week’s end, weather permitting.

He said the demolition would lead into “phase 1A” of renovation for the Afton Inn, which will focus on repairing window headers that have collapsed. He said they would be replaced to meet code and to match the building’s history.

Burton said the firm has filed for facade grant money from the town that will aid in window work and brick replacement.

Originally known as the Montview Hotel, the Afton Inn was constructed in the late 1860s and eventually became a restaurant in the early 20th century. After serving as a schoolbook depository, the building became vacant.

According to previous reports, the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority assumed ownership of the Afton Inn in a 2014 property swap involving the former Town Hall.

The Board of Architectural Review in July approved a conceptual architectural design that included the demolition of the non-historic annex, renovation of the original structure and two additions.

Plans call for one of those new additions to be three stories and facing Crescent Street. It is proposed to include four apartments, office space and commercial space.

 

Burton previously said the original structure’s ground floor would house a cafe with outdoor seating. He said the restaurant has been selected but declined to provide the name.

He also declined to provide a timeline for the entire project, noting that details such as colors and window types will be hashed out during an upcoming meeting with the Board of Architectural Review.

Burton said he should have a better idea of the overall timeline if that final approval is granted.

The EDA will maintain ownership of the building until the project is finished and then turn the property over to the developer, 2 East Main Street LLC. Jennifer McDonald, EDA executive director, said in a news release this decision was made so the EDA could oversee materials used and have a say in future tenants. 

The demolition and construction are being funded by 2 East Main Street LLC. Burton previously said Alan Omar, the principal owner of the LLC., will run the ground floor businesses.

Burton has described plans for “a coffee shop that serves beer and wine along with food” and possible electric car charging stations.

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