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October 21, 2019

Royal Farms plans Opal gas station/convenience store

Contributed Photo
The new Royal Farms would stand along the southbound lanes of Routes 15/29 at Opal.
They are in a few markets that we are in. We have a wide number of competitors in every single market where we operate. And, we enjoy friendly competition with each of those companies.
— Sheetz Public Relations Manager Nick Ruffner
Royal Farms Project
• What: Proposed gas station/convenience store

• Where: 5.6 acres at the southwest quadrant of Routes 17 and 29 at Opal

• Store size: 4,649 square feet

• Developer: Visconsi Cos. Ltd., Pepper Pike, Ohio

• Landowners: Opal Road Properties LLC; JK Development LLC

• Zoning: Commercial

• Details: Under the proposal, Visconsi Cos. Ltd. would purchase, develop and lease a 3.5-acre site to Royal Farms; the site’s commercial zoning allows the proposed use with site plan approval. The developer’s concept plan also shows future development of a 3,162-square-foot fast-food restaurant on 2.1 acres. It calls for a drive-thru, which would require special exception permit approval by the county board of supervisors.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
The busy intersection at Opal next fall could get a third gas station/convenience store.

If all goes according to plan, Baltimore-based Royal Farms hopes to open a store at the southwest corner of Routes 17 and 29 at Opal. Sheetz and a Wi-Not Stop occupy two corners. Domino’s has a carryout store at the fourth one.

The Royal Farms’ project calls for a 4,649-square-foot store and 14 fuel pumps, according to a concept plan prepared by developer Visconsi Cos. Ltd. of Pepper Pike, Ohio.

Under the proposal, Visconsi will purchase 5.6 acres fronting Route 29 and develop and rent a portion of the commercially-zoned site to Royal Farms, Development President Jeffrey A. Deeds said.

A new Route 29 entrance fronting the proposed the 3.5-acre site would be limited to right-in and right-out access. The concept plan also shows rear entrances to the property along Avatar Way, off Opal Road.

“Future development” of the remaining 2.1 acres calls for an unspecified 3,162-square-foot fast-food restaurant, which would share the proposed Route 29 entrance with Royal Farms, according to the concept plan. The planned fast-food eatery’s drive-thru would require special exception permit approval by the county board of supervisors.

The fast-food restaurant also would have its own entrance along Avatar Way.

“We’d be hoping to commence construction next spring and open the (Royal Farms) store in the fall,” Mr. Deeds said of the approximately six-month project.

Visconsi first considered the Opal site about two years ago, he said.

The Opal site well suits the proposed store, suggested Mr. Deeds, whose company specializes in retail development.

“Route 29 is kind of the bypass for a lot of people that want to avoid going to D.C., from (Interstate) 66 to 95, or vice versa,” he explained. “So, you’ve got a lot of traffic and there’s competition (Sheetz) across the street that does very well.”

More than 41,000 vehicles a day pass through Opal.

Mr. Deeds declined discuss how much Visconsi would pay for the property, the project’s cost or the company’s lease agreement with Royal Farms.

For tax purposes, Fauquier values the 5.6-acre site at almost $1.4 million, according to county land records. One of the site’s three parcels includes the vacant Pete’s Park ’n’ Eat restaurant, which will be demolished. The well-known fast-food restaurant shut in 2014.

A Royal Farms representative couldn’t be reached for comment.

Founded in 1959, Royal Farms’ menu features its “world-famous” chicken — “lightly breaded and pressure-cooked in trans-fat-free cooking oil and “hand-cut and hand-breaded” fries from Idaho potatoes, according to its website.

Open around the clock, the store serves breakfast, subs, wraps, salads, fruit and vegetable cups and a variety of beverages.

Sheetz Public Relations Manager Nick Ruffner sounded unconcerned about Royal Farms store at Opal store.

“They are in a few markets that we are in,” Mr. Ruffner said. “Broadly, it’s the same story: We have a wide number of competitors in every single market where we operate. And, we enjoy friendly competition with each of those companies.”

Based in Altoona, Pa., Sheetz also has a Warrenton store and a new one at Bealeton — about 3-1/2 miles from Bealeton — that opened last month.

Royal Farms has 214 stores in five states, including Virginia. Sheetz has 596 stores in six states, with 84 in Virginia.

Mr. Ruffner declined to differentiate between the Sheetz and Royal Farms’ models.

“I don’t know that I want to get into comparing ourselves against any kind of competition,” he explained. “Sheetz is the ultimate one-stop shop, where you can go in and get gas, you can have fresh MTO (made to order) food that offers you a wealth of possibilities in sandwiches and burgers” and “specialty drinks.”

Contact Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or 540-270-0300.

Royal Farms Opal Plan by Fauquier Now on Scribd

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mgrabner · October 29, 2019 at 11:55 am
DonkeyFarmer you are so RIGHT! Best fried chicken!!!
DonkeyFarmer · October 22, 2019 at 9:20 pm
The best fried chicken and potato wedges. I welcome them.
JDwarrenton · October 22, 2019 at 6:36 am
One has to wonder how this business will be affected when they replace the present at-grade intersection with a flyover, as is planned. Seems like a portion of the gas station improvements would be in the footprint of the new ramp / bridge. Also, shouldn't they be limiting the direct access points on Rt. 29 instead of allowing more? Make all traffic come from back via Avatar.
ella82 · October 21, 2019 at 6:50 pm
Just what the area needs...another drug market... to go along with the ones already there...the McDonalds, the Sheetz, and the Fauquier motel. A better idea would be to build a police precinct in that area.
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