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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and Fredericksburg.com. This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.
Town Center at Aquia project ready to advance?
The long-stalled Town Center at Aquia project in North Stafford appears close to getting back on track.
New Jersey-based Somerset Property Trust is under contract to purchase the commercial portions of the 36-acre project from Michigan-based Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust, said Somerset CEO Greg Senkevitch.
Somerset will not be buying the 8 acres on the southern portion of the project where about 288 apartments are planned. Stafford officials have indicated that they want the commercial portions of the project to advance first.
Senkevitch hopes to close on the commercial land within a month. The status of the residential portion, which was recently subdivided from the remaining part, is unclear for now.
Among Senkevitch’s first priorities are building new spaces for two of the existing tenants at the development off U.S. 1 near Garrisonville Road: the Rite Aid Pharmacy store and the Regal Entertainment Group movie theater.
Senkevitch has been talking to both companies about new, larger facilities at the development. Regal has shown interest in a modern movie theater at Aquia that would be more than double the size of its existing one.
Senkevitch, who said he has been involved in the Quantico market for a decade, hopes to start construction work soon after purchasing the land. The existing Rite Aid and Regal facilities would remain open while the new ones were being built.
Senkevitch has some different ideas for the Aquia project than did Ramco, which planned the mixed-use development years ago during a vastly different economic climate and later struggled to get financing for the project.
He would like to see upscale restaurants and more retail on the ground level of the existing 100,000-square-foot office building that Ramco built at Aquia to give the development more after-hours life.
He envisions a full-service hotel in the future with ground-level fitness, restaurant and meeting space. In the future he thinks another high-rise office building with additional ground-level retail could be in the cards.
Ramco had attracted Gold’s Gym, Bungalow Alehouse, Travinia Italian Kitchen and The Learning Experience to the project, but Senkevitch said those leases have now expired due to the development’s delays. He added that those previous leases give him good leads for the project going forward.
The delays have frustrated North Stafford residents for years. Paul Milde, the Stafford supervisor for the Aquia District, said he is pleased that the site has now been cleaned up, and that a new owner is revitalizing the project.