Company ready to develop former Superfund site
What was once a manufacturing site for American Viscose Corp. and Avtex Fibers in Front Royal will become the headquarters for the government-contracting firm ITFederal LLC.
ITFederal first learned about the property from former U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-10th. The land is a former Superfund site, which was released by the Environmental Protection Agency in September 2014.
The company later talked with U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-6th, who coordinated an introduction to the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority. “We met with them to see what their needs were,” says Jennifer McDonald, the EDA’s executive director.
She believes the company looked at other areas for its headquarters but opted to go with Front Royal after land was made available. “I don’t think there was any other competition like a project normally would have,” McDonald says.
The EDA offered to give the company 30 acres to kick start development if the company met certain requirements. It will mark the first development on the former Avtex site. “They have to create at least 200 jobs and invest $10 million in the community in order to get the free acreage,” McDonald says, noting the company has five years to meet that requirement.
The $40 million, mixed-use project will be built in three phases. The first phase will include a two-story building with office space, a 10,000-square-foot cloud data center on the top floor and retail space on the bottom floor. “They should be starting construction on the first phase during the first quarter” of 2016, McDonald says. “They are saying within three years they should have all three phases completed.”
The project is expected to create more than 600 high-paying jobs. “On the private, nonservice side this will be the largest employer in Front Royal once it’s fully filled out,” says Tim Darr, Front Royal’s mayor. “This will definitely be a huge economic boon. We are looking forward to having them as part of our business community.”
The area has been trying to attract this type of industry and hopes this will start a trend that will bring in more innovative technology-focused companies. “This will have a huge impact on our community,” McDonald says. “Over half of our labor force commutes to areas out of Front Royal every day. One of our goals is to get our community labor force off the roads and back home. This was a huge win for us.”