Mosaic Realty Partners is planning to revive a recession-stalled retail development after Stafford County leaders decided to step in earlier this year to give the project a boost.
Baltimore-based Mosaic is gearing up to launch a $40 million project at the Town Center at Aquia, a 25-acre center it acquired last month for $6.1 million from Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust. Mosaic’s plan for the site at 2848 Jefferson Davis Highway, which now includes a Regal Cinemas and a Rite Aid, calls for a 160,000-square-foot, grocery-anchored center. The grocer has not been identified but sources familiar with the deal say Harris Teeter is close to signing on as the anchor. Its presence fills a void created after Shoppers Food Warehouse relocated more than a decade ago to the newer Stafford Marketplace nearby.
Representatives for Mosaic could not be reached for comment.
Once one of Stafford’s premier retail centers, the Town Center at Aquia was upstaged when Stafford Marketplace opened kitty-corner to it, said Stafford Deputy County Administrator Tim Baroody. Ramco-Gershenson launched a redevelopment of the center in 2007 in response. It was slated to include more than 700,000 square feet of office, retail and residential space in a neighborhood center format. The project had high hopes at the time, keying off the Pentagon’s Base Realignment and Closure plan that shifted more than 3,000 military jobs to the Quantico Marine Corps. base less than three miles away. But the recession stalled the project, just like so many others in the D.C. region and nationally, and Ramco-Gershenson was unable to restart the project on its own.
The county stepped in to encourage the developer to sell to buyers better positioned to move forward, and a few prospective buyers emerged by opted not to move forward due to the project’s financial projections, Baroody said. The county supervisors decided to sweeten the deal this past May, when they approved a resolution to provide $6.25 million in tax incentives to hasten the property’s sale and redevelopment.
“After many, many conversations with other parties, it was clear we were hitting stumbling blocks,” Baroody said. “The board of supervisors was adamant that that blighted property get the resources it needs to move forward with a redevelopment.”
The redevelopment, as it is now envisioned, will be smaller at just about 500,000 square feet rather than 750,000 square feet. That includes about 256 apartment units to be developed on an adjacent, southern portion of the site by the Franklin Johnston Group and an existing, 98,000-square-foot office building. The specifics of Mosaic’s plans are still being finalized. It is slated to start construction next year with completion in late 2016 or early 2017.
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