Following a closed meeting on Friday, February 24, the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority announced extensions and alterations to its deed of trust contractual agreement with ITFederal for economic redevelopment at the Avtex/Royal Phoenix Business Park site.
Completion deadlines on Phase One, a two-building project where fill dirt is currently being moved just to the west of EDA headquarters in the old American Viscose Administration building will be pushed back a year. The time extension seems perfectly logical since ITFederal has been delayed for almost exactly one year in its plans to break other than ceremonial ground to begin what was announced in June 2015 as a multi-phased, $40-million project that could bring as many as 600 jobs to the community.
Those delays were two phased, with state wastewater permitting and federal approval of removal of the 30-acre ITFederal parcel from a $2.06-million lien on property to facilitate a one-dollar sale price, overlapping. Final approvals came in between September and December of last year.
The extension on Phase One will push back deadlines on the entire multi-phased, seven building site plan with ending dates now of September 2020, rather than 2019.
Perhaps more troubling than the easily-explained push back of deadlines to fit the reality of acquiring state and federal permission to proceed was another aspect of announced changes – a reduction in the SCOPE of Phase One of the ITFederal plan. The initial Phase One investment had been projected at $5-million.
During a phone interview on February 28, McDonald said details on how the reduced “scope” would impact that investment, or the overall project investment, were not yet known.