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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Kalahari moving forward with site plan work

We have been constantly checking in with involved parties to keep tabs on the status of the Kalahari Resorts project, the linchpin of the Silver Cos’ Celebrate Virginia development. A construction start date on that project has been in question for months now, as Kalahari has been up against the tight credit market that has resulted from the current recession as it seeks financing for its more than $250 million project.

Kalahari President Todd Nelson has told us repeatedly (including here) that he is still firmly committed to the project. For city officials, the evidence of that commitment comes in the plans Nelson has submitted to the building official’s office, which are a sign that Kalahari is spending the money to get its Fredericksburg project ready for construction, even as it continues to seek financing.

Keith Oster, vice president of Spotsylvania-based Prime Design Engineering, reports that Nelson himself has cleared Oster’s firm to proceed with submitting the entire site plan for the project. He said that word came a couple of weeks ago. This is six months of work for Oster’s three-person firm, and it’s a sign, Oster said, that Kalahari wants to be ready to start construction as soon as it completes its financing package.

A site plan is a necessary document for any construction project, and it must be approved by both the building official and the Planning Commission (even though the Planning Commission approval is pretty much a formality, based on the building official’s approval). A site plan for a project this big is a very complex document that takes a long time to process. City building officials have been talking a lot with Kalahari officials over the past several months about various details that will go into that plan, using this interaction and the information they gleaned when they visited Kalahari’s Sandusky resort last year to make sure they’re not starting from scratch when the plans come in.

"It’s certainly a big financial commitment on his part," Oster said of Nelson’s green-lighting the site plan work. "The certainty of it being built goes up when I’m asked to do this work. … This is a move you make to make certain that when you do get financing, you don’t have to wait six months for site plan approval" before starting construction.

Oster said he is on-schedule to submit the full site plan to the city by the end of the year.