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Stafford grants seek to lure eateries

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Stafford County’s Economic Development Authority approved $150,000 worth of incentive grants Friday in an effort to help woo two national restaurant chains to the Carter’s Crossing development off U.S. 17.

The grants, up to $75,000 for each potential restaurant, would offset expenses associated with connecting the pad sites to water and sewer lines. The sites are between an existing McDonald’s restaurant and a Wawa station that will be built soon.

The grants would not be made until the businesses receive an occupancy permit and must be paid back if the restaurants don’t generate enough county tax revenue.

The Silver Cos. is developing Carter’s Crossing. Silver Vice President Chris Hornung said one of the restaurants has agreed to a lease due in part to the county’s offer, but he said he can’t release the name until the lease is finalized in about a month. He described it as a “casual theme sit-down restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Hornung said negotiations stalled with the second restaurant a few months ago, but Silver officials will now go back to the company with details of Stafford’s incentive offer. If that doesn’t work out, the company will contact other restaurants.

Residents along the U.S. 17 corridor have long asked for more chain restaurants.

Stafford’s Board of Supervisors recently transferred $150,000 from its Opportunity Fund to the EDA for the offer. That was on the heels of a study the county commissioned on boosting its retail and restaurant base.