Developer: Afton Inn too costly to renovate

The Warren Sentinel

FRONT ROYAL — A developer interested in the Afton Inn property at the corner of Royal Avenue and Main Street believes it would be cheaper to raze the historic structure and build new than to renovate.

So said Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Jennifer McDonald during her report to Council Monday night. The EDA is working to market the vacant building, which the town acquired in a 2014 property swap for the former town hall.

The three-story structure at 2 E. Main St. was built in 1867. 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.

Officials have targeted the building for redevelopment because of its location at a prime downtown intersection.

"The developer said the expense of renovating that building does not make it feasible and that it would be better for them to tear down and rebuild," McDonald said. She did not identify the developer.

McDonald noted that a study done about 15 years ago said the building was structurally sound. However, she added, a floor has since collapsed under the weight of books.

Councilman Bret Hrbek asked if the developer would be willing to meet with council members in a closed session to discuss ways to renovate the structure rather than tear it down. McDonald said that probably could be arranged.

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