Afton Inn could have buyer soon

The Warren Sentinel

FRONT ROYAL — A potential buyer has shown interest in establishing an English pub and apartments in the historic Afton Inn building on the corner of Main Street and Royal Avenue.

The Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority recently received a letter of intent from a confidential buyer, according to EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald.

That buyer will remain anonymous as it undergoes a feasibility study of the Afton Inn to determine if it is a proper fit. McDonald did say, however, the pub would not be a national chain restaurant.

The restaurant would be located on the buildingís ground floor, with the apartments on the two floors above, McDonald said.

During the feasibility study, the developer will obtain estimates on renovation costs and potential income from renting out the apartments. The study will close on Oct. 15, at which point the buyer will decide whether or not to enter a full contract.

If the developer wants to move forward, McDonald said the EDA would apply for an Industrial Revitalization Grant, which could be up to $600,000, to offset the buyerís cost of development.

Other developers have expressed interest in the Afton Inn, but McDonald said an agreement in the letter of intent states the EDA will not show the building to other parties through the duration of the feasibility study.

The EDA obtained ownership of the Afton Inn during late 2014 in a property swap for the former town hall building, McDonald said.

Former Afton Inn owner Frank Burros received the old town hall building and the EDA received the Afton Inn.

McDonald is not sure of the Afton Innís value, because the EDA did not pay for it during the swap. The property is zoned for commercial use and has an assessed value of $261,300, according to the Warren County Commissioner of the Revenueís Office.

"It's hard to put a number on it. I think the town looks at it not as a dollar figure, but what will it bring back to the community," McDonald said.

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