The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Goodwill multi-use facility opens
BY BILL FREEHLING
Rappahannock Goodwill Industries has transformed a long-vacant building in the Lee’s Hill Commercial Center into a bustling mixed-use complex where people can work, shop, learn and collaborate.
RGI has started showing off the results of an $11 million project to redo the former 80,000-square-foot home of Gallahan’s Furniture into what is now called the Goodwill Community Resource Center.
RGI purchased the facility at 4701 Market St. in October 2011. Since March, Wack General Contractor has been renovating the building’s interior into one that can serve many purposes for Goodwill, which now employs about 520 people in the Fredericksburg area.
On Thursday evening RGI showed off the two-level building to local dignitaries and people who have helped make the project happen. On Friday morning RGI opened retail and outlet stores on the first floor. It is the organization’s 10th retail store.
The outlet store, where goods that don’t sell at retail are priced by the pound, was moved to the new facility from 2336 Plank Road.
The retail store on State Route 3 will remain open and may expand into the former outlet space.
The new stores are just one small part of what’s been done to bring the large white building back to life.
RGI plans to move its headquarters to the second floor in mid-December once work is completed. RGI recently sold its properties on Princess Anne and Caroline streets in downtown Fredericksburg and is leasing some of them back until the new headquarters are ready.
RGI has also started using the new facility for its “transportation hub,” where donated items that don’t sell are packaged in bulk, loaded onto trailers and sold for recycling. There are 11 transportation bays for recycled materials to be loaded onto trucks, up from two when RGI bought the building.
RGI also plans to build out about 20,000 square feet of office, meeting and classroom space in the Spotsylvania County facility that will be available to like-minded, community-oriented agencies. Several potential partners have expressed an interest.
RGI’s commercial laundry operation will stay at Fredericksburg’s Battlefield Industrial Park.
About 124 people will work for Goodwill at the new facility, said RGI CEO Woody Van Valkenburgh. That’s expected to boost the lunchtime business at surrounding restaurants.
RGI financed the purchase of the building and some adjacent land as well as the renovation project in a variety of ways.
RGI raised $5 million by issuing bank-qualified, tax-exempt bonds through the King George County Economic Development Authority. Another $1.5 million came from the sale of its downtown properties. Some came from organization income.
Also, RGI plans to soon start a fundraising campaign to help pay for the completion of the community-oriented classroom and office space on the second floor. RGI hopes to have that part of the building ready by next year and offer a variety of classes and assistance programs in collaboration with area nonprofits.
Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405