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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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Baseball investors receive 90-day extension to buy land

COMPLETE COVERAGE: View all related stories and images on the Fredericksburg baseball proposal

Hagerstown_Suns_Cap_LogoThe investors who plan to build a minor league baseball complex in Fredericksburg have received a 90-day extension to purchase the land.

The baseball investors, which include the principals of the Hagerstown Suns and Diamond Nation, are under contract to purchase a 38-acre site in Fredericksburg’s Celebrate Virginia South development.

The U.S. National Slavery Museum currently owns the land, which is along the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 and the Rappahannock River.

The slavery museum organization has not been paying its real estate taxes to the city of Fredericksburg, which has begun the process of selling the land to recoup back taxes, interest and penalties.

In October, after the baseball investors signed the contract to buy the land, Fredericksburg’s Treasurer’s Office agreed to pause the tax-sale process for 150 days to give the investors time to further study the site, prepare their construction plans and finalize financing.

The deadline for the original 150-day period is Thursday. The baseball investors asked for and received a 90-day extension to continue working out final details of their construction plans and budget before purchasing the land.

The baseball investors have been shooting to have the complex ready for the start of the 2015 season. It’s unclear whether that timetable is in jeopardy due to the additional 90-day extension.

The Suns, a Class-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, have a lease to play in Hagerstown, Md., through the 2014 season. The Suns have been trying to extend that lease in Hagerstown through the 2016 season in case there are construction delays in Fredericksburg, as required by Minor League Baseball.

The Suns plan to build a roughly 5,000-seat stadium in Fredericksburg, and Diamond Nation plans to build adjacent fields for amateur baseball and softball camps and tournaments. The complex will be primarily privately financed but supported by an array of tax incentives.