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April 9, 2018

Town business plan calls for restaurants and marketing

Photo/Google Earth
The shopping centers and other businesses along Lee Highway and Broadview Avenue generate most of Warranton’s tax revenue.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Warrenton’s economic development manager last week gave the town council his draft strategic plan for business growth.

In the 56-page document, Tom Wisemiller outlines the town’s current economic environment and makes suggestions on how Warrenton can recruit businesses.

> Report embedded below

Why it matters: Economic development drives job creation, provides tax revenues and creates a vibrant community, filling vacant commercial spaces.

Warrenton has lots of empty commercial space throughout town.

“Retail vacancies in the town, overall, are at about average; however, retail vacancies have recently been on the rise on Main Street in Old Town,” Mr. Wisemiller wrote in his report. “Office vacancies are relatively high.”

Warrenton’s government has grown in recent years, requiring a larger tax base. The town’s largest revenue streams for general operations come from meals, sales, business license, lodging and other taxes. In fiscal 2017, for example, the town collected $2.6 million in meals taxes — representing about 17 percent of the general fund revenue.

“Roughly 90 percent of local business sales happen on the Lee Highway/Broadview Avenue, West Shirley corridor; however, Old Town is the tourism destination,” Mr. Wisemiller wrote in the report.

To grow Warrenton’s economy, Mr. Wisemiller recommends:

• Developing a digital marketing program to brand Warrenton’s assets.

• Recruiting food and beverage businesses, such as a destination restaurant with a star chef, and popular fast-casual and fast food restaurants on Lee Highway/ Broadview Avenue and West Shirley Avenue.

• Working with the local business community to improve regulations and permitting process.

• Working with property owners to fill empty spaces.

• Finding investors to build a multi-level, mixed-use residential building with ground floor retail in Old Town.

“There’s more to Warrenton than just Old Town,” Council Bob Kravetz (Ward 4) said during last Thursday’s work session. “There are vacancies along Broadview, too.”

Council members will discuss the town’s economic priorities and give Mr. Wisemiller feedback on the plan at a future meeting.

Economic Development Strategic Plan Draft by Fauquier Now on Scribd

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hugh · April 10, 2018 at 7:11 am
Inane Myopia! No "strategic" economic development planning / foresight when the Town Council supported new destination restaurants, businesses, mixed-use growth and patron traffic be diverted from Main Street to the future Walker Drive retail complex. Main Street "vacancies on the rise?" Duh!

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