Fredericksburg City Beat

This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.

Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or

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1200 Prince Edward–Condos OK now, council says

More than two years after they shot it down, City Council members tonight voted 6-1 (Tomzak against) to approve a plan to put 4 condominiums in the building at 1200 Prince Edward St.

In case you are just joining us, this building has been sitting as an empty shell since a 2003 storm caused a fire that nearly burned it down (Some have even joked over the course of this matter that the fire department did too good of a job saving this building, judging from the heartache and controversy it has caused in the neighborhood.).

This vote doesn’t give us much indication as to when someone will actually run with this plan and eliminate what neighbors say is a blight. Charlie Payne, the attorney who represents the owner, said tonight that someone will have to buy the building before anything happens, because the current owner can’t bring this plan to fruition.

Jessie Franklin, who lives next door and has attended dozens of meetings on this matter over the years, had his own opinion about what tonight’s vote means.

"I’m through fighting. We’re tired. We want to see something done. But I’m not sure I’ll live enough to see something done," he said at tonight’s public hearing. "The owners of this property have other properties around this town that have been untouched for 20-some years. They have no history of doing anything. It doesn’t matter whether you give them a lot of time or not , they’re not going to do it."

Councilwoman Mary Katherine Greenlaw said approving the condo plan was the best the local government could do to try to put the property in a position to be redeveloped.

"The question is not whether these owners are going to be the ones to be the developers," she said. "The question is to put the property in a position where it can be purchased and successfully developed. Any potential buyer needs the assurance that this can happen."

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