11 Jan 2015
January 11, 2015

Aquia Center moving forward

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The revitalization of Aquia Town Center, an issue that has drawn considerable interest in Stafford County, is moving forward, according to a staff update provided to the county’s Economic Development Authority on Friday.

Owner Ramco–Gershenson Properties Trust has submitted a site plan for residential development. And part of the commercial property, including the movie theater, is under contract by Mosaic Realty Partners out of Baltimore.

Economic Development Director Tim Baroody told the EDA that Mosaic is “making significant progress, especially on a pretty exciting anchor.”

Baroody added that Mosaic could close in the near term, but is trying to first tie up the store that will anchor the center.

Built in the mid-1990s on U.S. 1 near Garrisonville Road, Aquia Town Center languished in the 2000s as stores began leaving for other developments.

Staff didn’t give a specific timeline for when an announcement on the commercial plans at Aquia Town Center would be made.

On another issue, a vendor may be close to purchasing the North Stafford Farmers Market.

Vanessa Griffin, who is in the process of selling the market, told the EDA on Friday that she is in talks with an interested buyer who has also been a vendor for the past two years.

The market, located at Stafford Hospital, opened in 2013 with help from a $10,000 Stafford EDA grant. Griffin is selling the market’s intellectual property, not a specific location.

EDA member Howard Owen later wondered whether the authority should look into being repaid in some way if businesses that have received help from the EDA sell after a certain amount of time.

“Like the farmers market, that’s behind us, so we can’t really do anything, but moving forward, maybe it’s something we can look at,” Owen said.

For the farmers market, Griffin has said that she hopes to find a buyer by the end of January.

Griffin said that she and her business partner are going to focus on obligations from their other businesses, and she may go back to school.

The farmers market price was listed at $25,000, which Griffin said is negotiable. The price includes the market itself and its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program operations, which helps low-income people buy food.

It also includes the winter market, the market’s website and logo plus marketing materials like car magnets, eco bags and social media accounts. Information regarding vendors and compliance documents would also be provided.

According to a report Griffin submitted to the EDA on Friday, about $75 of the $10,000 in grant money is left. The money was spread over two years and paid for application fees, registering as a limited liability corporation, liability insurance, advertisements, website and promotional materials like the logo, banners discount mugs and bookmarks.

“We would have had absolutely nothing if not for you,” Griffin said to the EDA on Friday.

Meanwhile, farmers market vendor and Stafford agricultural committee member Jeff Adams has asked the Board of Supervisors to consider allowing the market to be held in the government center’s parking lot if Mary Washington Hospital doesn’t agree to have it held there. Adams has said that he hopes to take over the operations of the farmers market, without having to buy it from Griffin.

The market recently hosted more than 20 vendors during its season spanning mid-April to mid-October.

Article from www.fredericksburg.com