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Town of Warrenton’s

Strategic Economic
Development Plan (Draft)
Tom Wisemiller
Economic Development Director
(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 3

OVERVIEW 4-10
 PURPOSE AND ORGANIZATION OF THE PLAN
 WHO HELPED DEVELOP THIS PLAN
 KEY ASSUMPTIONS
 STRATEGIC VISION, APPROACH, AND RATIONALE
 LEAD WITH MARKETING
 RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT

CONTEXT 11-27
 LOCAL POPULATION
 BUSINESS PATTERNS
 ECONOMIC TRENDS
 RELEVANT PLANS
 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INCENTIVES

ASSESSMENT 28-40
 WARRENTON REAL ESTATE EDUCATION
 RETAIL AND TOURISM DEVELOPMENT/REDEVELOPMENT
 MARKETING, BRANDING WORKFORCE AND COMMUTING
AND IDENTITY PATTERNS
 ENTREPRENEURSHIP BUILDINGS AND SITES
 LOCAL BUSINESS CLIMATE TARGET INDUSTRIES
 ACCESS TO MARKETS QUALITY OF LIFE
 TELCOMMUNICATIONS

ACTION PLAN 41-54


 MARKETING  ENTERTAINMENT/TOURISM
 RESTAURANT; FOOD & BEVERAGE  BUSINESS PERMITTING
 GENERAL RETAIL  GROW OUR OWN BUSINESSES
 EOTW ECONOMIC VITALITY  TARGET INDUSTRIES
 PROPERTY INVENTORY  ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SITES
 REDEVELOPMENT
OPPORTUNITIES

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DISCUSSION 55

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The Town of Warrenton’s 2020 Economic Development Strategic Plan is a two-year action plan for
promoting positive economic change in Warrenton.

This plan aims to bring additional wealth into our community by:
1. Enhancing Warrenton’s image and profile as a place to visit, go shopping, operate a business,
and invest
2. Taking specific actions to attract private capital investment and raise the local tax base
3. Setting the foundations for longer-term recruitment of companies that create goods and
services locally and sell them outside the area

Major Recommendations:
 Develop and deploy an aggressive digital marketing program that brands and promotes
Warrenton’s amazing assets – lead with marketing!
 Emphasize food and beverage:
o Recruit a destination restaurant, run by an experienced and well-backed group, and
headlined by a rising star chef, which will serve as a regional draw for foodie tourists
o Recruit a popular fast-casual, or drive-thru fast food, restaurant to be located on the
major commercial corridor (Lee Highway/Broadview Avenue/W. Shirley Avenue), which
will generate substantial meals tax revenues
o Build on our existing cluster of food/beverage artisans, which can both anchor retail
districts and have the potential to sell products outside the local trade area: breweries,
cheese makers, wineries, bakeries, cake decorators, coffee roasters, charcuteries, etc.
o Support boutique-to-kitchen conversions in Old Town and other key locations
 Work with the local business community to improve local business regulations and permitting
processes and implement other strategies for making Warrenton an even better place to do
business
o Complete four priority projects:
 Update the How to Open a Business in Warrenton guide
 Develop a zoning matrix
 Complete a “mock” business permitting process and develop recommended
improvements
 Revise signage permit regulations and process
 Work with local property owners and brokers to fill empty spaces, explore the highest and best
uses for their properties, and support reinvestment in higher-priority locations
o Link investors to creative financing sources, such as applicable State and federal tax
credits
o Consider adding a low-cost incentive or grant for building investors to complement the
Town’s existing business incentives and grants
 Seek investors to develop one or more dense, 3+ story, mixed-use residential buildings, with
ground floor retail, in Old Town and possibly other Urban Development Area sites
 Complete planning for office/industrial site(s) that will support future development of a facility
suitable for VEDP, GSA/defense -type projects
 Measure success in terms of jobs, local business expansions and start-ups, and new investment
created

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OVERVIEW
This section explains the purpose and organizational structure of the plan; how it was developed; and
the rationale for the plan’s strategic approach.

Purpose and Organization of the Plan


This Strategic Economic Development Plan is a two-year guide for the Town of Warrenton’s economic
development programs. It is action-oriented: it focuses on realizable short-term goals and strategies
that will improve the local business climate and bring new wealth into the community. This plan also
suggests mid- to long-term strategies that will lay a foundation for future growth, which is consistent
with the community’s vision for Warrenton. This plan creates a framework for the Town and its Council,
economic development partners, the local business community, and property owners to work together
to create better conditions for economic growth, employment generation, and fiscal soundness.

Implementation of this plan will require the sustained commitment of the Town and its partners. At the
same time, no plan should be a static document; and it’s even more important that a strategic action
plan be adaptable and responsive to changing conditions. This plan includes initiatives that will be
implemented through trial-and-error approaches and informed by new ideas, challenges and
experiences. If, two months after this plan is adopted, someone in the community has a great idea for
promoting economic development in Warrenton – which fits our overall strategic approach – it should
be incorporated into the strategic framework.

The Plan consists of three major sections:

Context
This section highlights some key data and economic trends pertaining to how the local market area
will be impacted by larger endogenous and exogenous economic forces:
 Warrenton population characteristics and economy
 Fauquier County population characteristics and economy
 Local employment, commuting, and business patterns
 Household income and property values
 Largest are employers
 National and regional economic trends
 National retail industry trends
 Metropolitan development trends
 Important factors driving industrial/office site selection
 Important factors driving retail site selection
This section also provides an overview of how other past and current local plans addressed
economic development of Warrenton. These plans include:

 Town of Warrenton Economic Development Plan (2001)


 Comprehensive Plan
 UDA Plan (2018)
 Experience Old Town Warrenton Strategic Plan (2017)
 Region 9 Plan (2017)

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Assessment
This section analyzes Warrenton’s strengths and weaknesses in the highly competitive economic
development marketplace. It identifies opportunities to attract new investment and potential
obstacles that might hinder such efforts. This assessment uses information obtained through a
combination research sources, meetings with the Economic Development Working Group,
interviews with Town Council members and local stakeholders, and discussions with our economic
development partners.

Action Framework
This section recommends specific action steps to guide economic development in Warrenton. These
actions steps are informed by the information obtained in the Context section and the Competitive
Assessment. It consists of 15 main economic development topics along with specific initiatives to be
taken to achieve progress in each area.

Who helped develop this plan?


This plan was developed in consultation with the Town Council, Town management staff, the Economic
Development Working Group, and Warrenton-area economic development partners and stakeholders.
The plan was also informed by an online survey of Warrenton businesses.

Town of Warrenton Council


Alec Burnett (Second Ward)
Kevin Carter (Fifth Ward)
Powell Duggan (Mayor)
Brett Hamby (Third Ward)
Robert Kravetz (Fourth Ward)
Sean Polster (At-Large)
Sunny Reynolds (Vice Mayor, At-Large)
Jerry Wood (First Ward)

Brannon Godfrey, Town Manager

Economic Development Working Group


This group was tasked with providing input to the Town of Warrenton Economic Development
Manager in developing this plan. The group consisted of Warrenton-area business owners,
economic development professionals, executives, real estate developers, real estate brokers,
and local leaders. Each group member brought a wealth of experience working in the
Warrenton/Fauquier County market area.

The Working Group met a total of four times between October 2017 and January 2018:
a “kickoff” session plus three work sessions.

Mike Atkins, Mike Atkins Commercial Real Estate & Investments, RE/MAX Commercial
Sam Blaser, Vice President Commercial Relationship Manager, The Fauquier Ban
Abtin Buergari, Co-founder and partner, Model B

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Bill Chipman, President, CRES, Inc.


Powell Duggan, Mayor, Town of Warrenton
Ernest Hueter, Principal, KLNB Real Estate
Carlene Hurdle, Workforce Development Coordinator, Lord Fairfax Community College
Maggie Lovitt, Director, Chapman Beverly Mill/Experience Old Town Warrenton Board
Joe Martin, President, Fauquier Chamber of Commerce
Chad Melton, CEO, Fauquier Health
Aimee O’Grady, outgoing Director, Experience Old Town Warrenton
Beverly Pullen, Business Coordinator, Fauquier County Economic Development
Tyler Ross, Principal Broker, Ross Real Estate
Brandie Schaeffer, Director, Town of Warrenton Planning Department
Carol Petrino Smith, Director of Sales and Marketing, Airlie
Larry Spielberg, General Manager, Fauquier Springs Country Club
Robert Springer, a prominent local developer and land owner
Amelia Stansell, Vice President, Middleburg Bank/ Chair, EOTW Board
Walter Story, a prominent local developer and property owner
Pablo Teodoro, owner/operator of Great Harvest Bread Company store in Old Town

Other economic development professionals and key stakeholders that provided


important input to this plan include:
Miles Friedman, Director, Fauquier County Economic Development
Christopher N. Granger, Fauquier County Board of Supervisors (Center District)
Jim Carson, Carson Land Consultants
Andrew Fioranelli, GIS Director, Fauquier County

Businesses survey
Online survey to over 180 town of Warrenton businesses in March 2018; 84 businesses
provided detailed responses.

Key Assumptions
Local economy
 Retail and tourism-oriented economic base
 In the last 10+ years, low interest in Warrenton’s industrial sites (probably due to land,
labor, taxes, and other costs; distance from an interstate interchange; and other factors)
 Relatively strong community opposition to prospective economic development projects that
can potentially have moderate to higher impacts on adjacent neighborhoods and/or local
resources:
o Light industrial
o Data centers (especially larger, resource-intensive facilities)
o Outbound customer service “call centers”
 Office vacancy rate is moderately high (but not as high as it is some NOVA market areas);
retail vacancy rate is relatively high at some locations in town, but about average overall;
residential vacancy rate is very low in part because of constricted supply

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Local tax base


 In FY17, OTHER local taxes generated 48% of the Town of Warrenton’s general revenues
o Meals Taxes generated 38% of local tax revenues
o BPOL generated 28% of local tax revenues
 In FY17, property taxes generated only 8% of general revenues
 Other local tax sources – e.g., sales and lodging taxes – are less important

(Consensus/Non-controversial) Community Goals/Vision


 More jobs located in Warrenton/Fauquier! (less out-commuting)
 More entertainment venues/options in Warrenton/Fauquier
 More diversity of shopping options (fill empty storefronts)
 Attract more visitors to Warrenton to spend money here
 Preserve all the great things about Warrenton!

Branding, Identity, Visibility


 Warrenton/Fauquier County still battling a reputation, built up in past decades, for being
anti-growth and anti-development
 Warrenton has high name recognition in the urban core of DC/Baltimore/NOVA: a lot of
people in the extended region have heard of Warrenton and know roughly where it is
located
 However, relatively few people from urbanized DC/Baltimore/NOVA have a clear conception
of what Warrenton is – it’s identity – other than “that place with horses where they won’t
let you build anything”

Strategic Vision, Approach, and Rationale

If the goal of this plan were simply to spur growth in Warrenton – that would be easy! Create
more sites that will allow for residential development, especially single-family home that cost
less than $400,000 to purchase and multifamily units that rent for less than $1,800 per month.
But taking such an approach is not feasible. Warrenton does not have the available sites or
utility/infrastructure capacity to support rapid growth. More importantly, Warrenton’s citizens
do not want sprawl, heavy traffic, and other byproducts of haphazard growth that will detract
from all the things that are great about Warrenton: historic character, charming
neighborhoods, tight-knit community, accessibility, and authenticity. Residential growth, in and
of itself, also does not generate positive fiscal benefits or post-construction jobs. Residential
growth, by itself, is not really economic development.
On the other hand, a lot of the goals that Warrenton citizens do agree on are dependent on
residential growth:
 More jobs located in Warrenton/Fauquier! (less out-commuting)
 More entertainment venues/options in Warrenton/Fauquier
 More diversity of shopping options and services (fill empty storefronts and office units)

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 Attract more visitors to Warrenton to spend money here


 Preserve all the great things about Warrenton!

Indirectly, new residential development does support existing retailers and retail expansion.
When trendy retail chains, retail site selectors, and commercial property developers look at a
local market area, they want to know . . . “How many rooftops are within a certain distance of
the site? How much spending power do those residents have (which helps Warrenton)? What
new residential development projects does your community have in the pipeline?”
Likewise, residential growth will also help to fill smaller vacant office units/buildings, which are
typically occupied by small firms that primarily serve local clients (doctor offices, insurance
agencies, etc.).
In addition, residential growth brings new talent into the community, some of whom might
open businesses or fill a previously unmet local workforce need.
In Warrenton, where it is much easier for a developer or property owner to sell/lease
residential units – a relative scarce commodity that is therefore in high demand – than it is
office or industrial units, residential development can also give developers the financial
leverage to build other things that community wants – entertainment, shopping, class A office.
So, how do we resolve this tension between (a) the community’s desire for good, sustainable
growth that brings jobs and shopping without a lot of residential growth versus (b) the realities
of the metropolitan marketplace?

Lead with Marketing

Capture more local/regional shopping dollars; attract more visitors; and facilitate investment.
We are always happy to attract more visitors who will shop, play, eat, drink, lodge, etc., here.
Some of these visitors will naturally fall in love with Warrenton/Fauquier County, just like we
did, and will want to move here. So, we must proactively market Warrenton to a specific
audience that is more likely to embrace Warrenton’s core values and attributes and which is
more likely to make the biggest positive economic impact on the community – people who, if
they do move here, have the means and the passion to invest in everything that’s great about
Warrenton, instead of trying to remake it in another image. This target audience, by itself, does
not represent a large population, so “capturing” some of this segment as potential residents is
consistent with our strategic growth goals.

Marketing Approach
 Emphasize digital marketing
 Start with social selling: the first step is getting the Fauquier community to believe
that there are attractive products that are sold in Warrenton, that this is a place to
be!

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o Attract more Vint Hill/New Baltimore and NOVA residents


 Incorporate “guerilla” marketing techniques
o Guerrilla Marketing uses unconventional, “grassroots” messaging that aim to share a unique,
indelible message and impression to target audiences, often relying on local people to help
spread the message via their own networks, to create social “buzz”; Guerrilla marketing can
sometimes make a far more valuable impression with consumers in comparison to more
traditional forms of advertising and marketing
o Example of Guerilla marketing: stencil in chalk a “buzz”-worthy message on sidewalks at a
community event, then reinforce that messaging via social media posts
 We must deliver on the experiences promised in the marketing campaigns! A
number of strategies in this plan address this point
 Make Warrenton more attractive as a date night and family fun destination
 Immediately start selling what’s great about Warrenton, making low cost
improvements along the way; cannot wait for the environment to be closer to
perfect before marketing because more visitors are needed to support future
improvements
 A sub-segment of the target audiences who visit, fall in the love with the place,
become repeat visitors will wish to more here
o Target segments that bring special skills, higher disposal income, buy into the
community’s vision and values, have money to invest, might move their
businesses to Warrenton or start businesses here

Embrace Residential Growth, but on our Terms

The community has expressed support for dense mixed-use residential (with ground floor
retail) in the town core; renovations of historic houses; a limited amount of medium-priced,
medium-density residential development in the Urban Development Areas.

Some of Warrenton’s best competitive assets are also associated with residential dynamics:
 A great place to raise a family
 Excellent public schools
 Best of both worlds: history, beautiful scenery, open spaces, in close proximity to
hiking, mountains, fishing, yet also easily accessible to urbanized NOVA

Turn Warrenton/Fauquier’s status as a “bedroom community” into a positive:

 Part-time telecommuting is on the rise: more workers and entrepreneurs are now
commuting to the company headquarters 2-3 times a week, but spend the other 3-4
weekdays working from home, traveling, meeting clients in coffee shops, etc.

Warrenton and Fauquier County have been very successful at limiting sprawl outside of the
service districts despite very heavy growth pressures from the expanding DC/Baltimore/NOVA
metropolis. Given their historical population levels, Culpeper County and Stafford County both

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absorbed more of the regional growth “overflow” during the past four decades than Fauquier
County absorbed. The following table compares how much population growth each NOVA
county has actually absorbed since 1980 compared to how much it would have absorbed if all
of these counties had grown proportionally – i.e., if each county had absorbed only its “fair”
share since 1980.
Population Increases 1980-2020
"Fair" Share Actual Share Quotient
Loudoun 84,663 383,018 4.5240
Stafford 59,664 110,411 1.8506
Prince William 213,232 339,114 1.5904
Culpeper 33,348 28,292 0.8484
Fairfax 879,991 575,126 0.6536
Fauquier 52,910 34,413 0.6504
Warren 31,254 18,725 0.5991
Arlington 224,971 109,093 0.4849
Clarke 14,691 4,372 0.2976
Rappahannock 8,983 1,143 0.1273
NOVA Counties 1,603,706 1,603,706 1.0000

At some point in the future, however, the regional growth pressures might overwhelm
Warrenton/Fauquier’s slower growth policies. Taking a proactive approach to residential
growth will help Warrenton to grow more on its own terms.

Other key principles of this plan include:


 Grow our own businesses
 Improve the local business climate
 Develop local business clusters that are compatible with the community’s vision
 Begin laying a foundation for larger-scale economic development projects

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CONTEXT
This section provides information on the Warrenton/Fauquier County population and local economy. It
also summarizes national market trends that are impacting, or are likely to impact, Warrenton/Fauquier
County. The data are not intended to be exhaustive; rather to highlight a few key data points that the
Economic Development Working Group and the Economic Development Manager considered in
developing this plan’s strategies.

Warrenton Population
(source: Data, USA: American Community Survey, US Census; Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor
Statistics, County Business Patterns)

Current (Estimated) Population: 9,843 (0.71% annual growth)


Median Age: 40.5
Median Household Income: $69, 617
Poverty rate: 7.5%
Number of employees: 4,945
Median property value: $319,400 (3.8% annual growth)

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Education Attainment

7.0% 2.0%
Bachelors Degree or
Higher
Some college or
36.1% Associates Degree
23.6%
High School or GED

32.1% Less than High School

P OPULATION

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Fauquier County: Projected Population Increase from 2000 to 2040:

Fauquier (%
County change) Virginia (% change)
2000 55,139 7,079,030
2010 65,203 18.25% 8,001,024 13.02%
2020 74,118 13.67% 8,811,512 10.13%
2030 83,312 12.40% 9,645,281 9.46%
2040 93,028 11.66% 10,530,229 9.17%

Note: Fauquier County is expected to grow faster than Virginia overall.

Fauquier County Age Cohorts:


Fauquier Percent Percent Percent
Age County of total LQ (VA) LQ (US) Virginia of total LQ (US) U.S. of total
0-9 8,402 0.129 1.009 0.981 1,021,474 0.128 0.972 40,550,019 0.131
10-19 9,569 0.147 1.105 1.061 1,062,211 0.133 0.960 42,717,537 0.138
20-29 6,180 0.095 0.667 0.686 1,136,433 0.142 1.027 42,687,848 0.138
30-39 7,228 0.111 0.832 0.853 1,066,140 0.133 1.025 40,141,741 0.130
40-49 11,184 0.172 1.153 1.215 1,190,020 0.149 1.053 43,599,555 0.141
50-64 14,351 0.220 1.138 1.156 1,547,809 0.193 1.016 58,780,854 0.190
65+ 8,289 0.127 1.041 0.975 976,937 0.122 0.936 40,267,984 0.130
TOTAL 65,203 1.000 8,001,024 1.000 308,745,538 1.00

Note: a relatively small percentage of Fauquier County residents are between the ages of 20-29
and 30-39, respectively, compared to Virginia overall and the U.S. total population. These low
ratios are heighted in pink above. Fauquier County has especially low numbers of residents in
their 20s. Interviews with local businesses suggest that many of their entry level workers and
mid-level service workers live in neighboring counties where real estate is more affordable.

At the same time, it is expected that relatively low numbers of Fauquier County’s more than
27,000 out-commuters are in these younger age cohorts. The largest concentration of out-
commuters are clustered in the northeastern area of Fauquier County, where housing tends to
be more expensive.

Commuting Patterns
People who live and work in the area 8,452
In-Commuters 12,444
Out-Commuters 27,539
Net In-Commuters -15,095
(In-Commuters minus Out-Commuters)

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Conversely, a relatively high percentage of Fauquier County residents are between the ages of
40-49 compared to Virginia overall and the U.S. total population. This age cohort tends to be
the most active in starting new businesses. People in their forties tend to have extensive
experience in their fields, which they can apply to their own new business projects, and have
capital saved up which they can use as a collateral for a business loan. It is expected that a
relatively robust concentration of skilled professionals in this age cohort commute to jobs in
more urbanized NOVA counties and/or or DC.

Local Business Patterns (Fauquier County)


Employees by Size of Firm
Fauquier County Virginia
Firms % of total Firms % of total
0 to 4 employees 1,553 65.17% 161,748 61.83%
5 to 9 employees 352 14.77% 38,533 14.73%
10 to 19 employees 248 10.41% 28,168 10.77%
20 to 49 employees 165 6.92% 20,545 7.85%
50 to 99 employees 46 1.93% 7,176 2.74%
100 to 249 employees 15 0.63% 3,768 1.44%
250 to 499 employees NA ? 1,069 0.41%
500 to 999 employees NA ? 369 0.14%
1000 and over employees 1 0.04% 237 0.09%
2,383 99.87% 261,613 100.00%

New start ups Q1 2017 25 1.05% 3,758 1.44%

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50 Largest Employers
1. Fauquier County School Board 26. Fauquier Physician Practice LLC
2. Fauquier Health System 27. Ross Industries Inc.
3. County of Fauquier 28. OS Restaurant Services, Inc.
4. U.S. Department of Transp. 29. Giant Food
5. Wal Mart 30. Greystone Servicing Corp.
6. Town of Warrenton 31. General Excavation
7. Food Lion 32. Chick-fil-A at Warrenton
8. Warrenton Operations, LLC 33. Payne's Parking Designs
9. Airlie Foundation 34. Sheehy Ford of Warrenton
10. Country Chevrolet, Peugeot 35. Versadyn
11. Blue Ridge Orthopaedic Assoc. 36. Ayrshire Farm
12. Lord Fairfax Community College 37. VDOT
13. Smith Midland Corporation 38. Capitol Building Supply
14. The Home Depot 39. Gaithersburg Cabinetry & Mill
15. The Fauquier Bank 40. Appleton Campbell Inc.
16. Administaff 41. Buccaneer Computer System Inc.
17. Pepsi Cola Bottling Center 42. R L Brown Excavating Corp
18. Harris Teeter Supermarket 43. Chemetrics
19. Highland School 44. Fauquier Springs Country Club
20. Wall & Associates, Inc. 45. Piedmont Family Practice
21. Postal Service 46. Red Lobster & The Olive Garden
22. 3GS Enterprises Inc. 47. Catholic Diocese of Arlington
23. Wakefield School Inc 48. B G Crane Services Inc
24. Chick-fil-A at Bonsack 49. Poplar Springs Inn & Spa
25. Safeway 50. Rappahannock Rapid Serv. Bd.

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Economic Trends

DC/NOVA
 Washington region has recovered from 2013 sequester; however, the job mix has shifted
toward lower-value added positions compared to pre-recession:
o Professional and business services, health services, leisure and hospitality services,
and retail trade accounted for 80 percent of the region’s total job gain
o Professional and business services have the greatest potential for compensating for
loss of federal jobs or reductions in federal procurement spending
 NOVA/DC still has among the highest per capita income, but the annual rate of per capital
income growth has leveled out in recent years
 The Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Economic Future identified strategies for
reducing dependence on federal spending and diversifying the economy; however, the
region has generally struggled to attract jobs/firms in the target sectors, except for in
biological & health technology services, advocacy services, and business and leisure travel
services, and these three clusters have created modest numbers of jobs
 NOVA/DC population growth is slowing, with Baby Boomers retiring
 Labor availability expected to be tight going forward
 NOVA/DC is aging: the region has been attractive to Millennials, but there are signs that the
appeal is diminishing, as the region is not retaining Millennials at the same rate it previously
retained Baby Boomers during same life cycles

National Retail Trends:


 Hundreds of traditional shopping malls are dying or in jeopardy, with the higher performing
malls are mostly located in affluent densely populated areas.
o Successful malls and districts: public spaces, lots of restaurants and entertainment,
offices, hotels, residential
o Approximately 40-50 percent of storefronts on Davis Street in Culpeper, King Street
in Alexandria, etc. consist of restaurants or other food and beverage retailers
 Hundreds of traditional shopping malls are dying or in jeopardy, with the higher performing
malls are mostly located in affluent densely populated areas.
 Major national retailers contracting: Sears, Toys R Us, Payless ShoeSource
o “Retail Apocalypse”: in addition to online trends, many major retail chains
will be dealing with escalating debt service over the next few years
 With the share of online sales increasing, experiential retail is increasingly relevant
to retailers that include bricks and mortar
o Retailers are experimenting with a variety of experential concepts, but it’s
difficult to predict which ones will succeed; e.g., Eddie Bauer added an “ice
box” to its store in Columbus, Ohio, where customers can try on winter gear
in a subfreezing “dressing room”
 Consumers often research first online, then go to stores, where they now spend less time
browsing: target, then shop; consequently, it’s more important now that retail
shops/districts be "sticky" by providing a socially congenial and appealing retail
experience
o 2-hr parking, drop in daycare, fun public spaces to hangout in, multi-stage
experiences (dinner, dessert, drinks, art gallery, etc.)

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 Retailers still need to offer competitive prices, though


 Some restaurant categories that were booming two years ago, such as “fast casual,”
have been sluggish lately, while some traditional casual dining chains have failed
o Some major casual dining chains, such as Olive Garden, have rebounded since 2016
after overhauling its stores to emphasize convenience
 Fast-growing non-food & beverage bricks and mortar retailers in the U.S include: Ulta
Beauty, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, Bass Pro Shops, Academy Sports, Rural King Supply,
Francesca’s, Burlington Coat Factory
 Fast-growing food & beverage related bricks and mortar retailers in the U.S. include: Total
Wine and More, Sprouts Farmers Market,

Metropolitan development trends:


 Millennials who flocked to “hot” major cities such as DC, New York City, and the San
Francisco Bay Area for technology and other “creative class” jobs during the Great Recession
are now leaving for less expensive metro areas such as Kansas City, Missouri; Austin, Texas;
Columbus, Ohio
 Millennials do have a stronger preference for living, working, shopping in walkable,
mixed-use, “new urbanist” style; recent data suggest, however, that once Millennials
are financially mobile, get married, have kids, etc., they are just as likely to purchase
single family homes as their parents were and many Millennials want “suburban”
houses, yards, etc.
 Urban Theorist, Joel Garreau recently suggested that Warrenton/Fauquier County
are well-positioned to thrive in the next decade given national trends; Garreau
argued that “edge cities” like Tysons Corner are on the cusp of decline, because the
“only places that will thrive are those that are good for face-to-face’: mid-sized
“authentic” cities and towns that are “plugged into” the information economy, yet
beyond the edge of heavy urbanization.
o Fauquier County Dept. of Economic Development has made “green
development” a major priority and is in process of extending broadband
coverage into underserved areas
 Manufacturing Renaissance: high-tech and artisanal manufacturing on the rise, often
in innovation zones supported by major research universities, including in “rust belt”
places that are retooling, and re-capitalizing on, once-aging infrastructure (big
winners are cities like Pittsburgh, Louisville, Denver, Grand Rapids); meanw hile
traditional manufacturing continues to decline (big losers are places like Chicago and
Los Angeles)
 Part-time telecommuting is on the rise: more workers and entrepreneurs are now
commuting to the company headquarters 2-3 times a week, but spend the other 3-4
weekdays working from home, traveling, meeting clients in coffee shops, etc.
 GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com research finds that:
 50% of the US workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telework and
approximately 20-25% of the workforce teleworks at some frequency

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 80% to 90% of the US workforce says they would like to telework at least part time. Two to
three days a week seems to be the sweet spot that allows for a balance of concentrative
work (at home) and collaborative work (at the office).
 Fortune 1000 companies around the globe are entirely revamping their space around the
fact that employees are already mobile. Studies repeatedly show they are not at their desk
50-60% of the time.
 Telecommuters tend to be college educated and make relatively high salaries.

Industrial/Office Site Selection


 Site Elimination, Not Site Selection: 90+ percent of prospective locations are eliminated
from consideration, based on an initial screening process, before they ever call or email your
economic development office
o A lot of site rejection at this stage focuses on access, visibility, and real estate
and energy costs, and other factors the community has little, if any, control
over.
 Important factors tend to include proximity to interstate interchanges,
direct rail access, availability of high ceilings and loading docks,
convenient access to a major airport, etc.
 The most important factor is usually costs: they want affordable skilled
available labor, inexpensive land/buildings, low taxes (which usually
means not having to pay both the county and municipality)
 When your community does get past the “first cut” for an economic development project,
time to market is crucial (from property acquisition to when the facility opens for business)
o Communities do have control over compliance requirements; lengthened
permitting processes, time-consuming zoning, and regulatory requirements
and restrictive regulations can result in a community being screened out of
the process.
 “Plug & Play the company/site selector is usually looking for an existing building that can be
more easily converted to their needs, i.e., “plug & play”

Retail Site Selection


 Again, it’s a site elimination, more than a site selection process
 Retail site selectors are not determining whether your market can support their
project, i.e., baseline viability; they are determining whether your market is better
positioned to support the project compared to other alternative locations/market
areas, i.e., comparably more advantageous:
o The retail chain that is expanding will only open x-stores new per year, so the
site selector is looking for the best sites among many prospective sites (viability
is not enough)
o Site selectors look at the spending potential of consumers within the local
“catchment area,” so they are naturally interested in quantity and quality of
existing rooftops
o Moreover, they like to see new residential projects in the pipeline, because
these indicate increased short-term future retail demand in excess of whatever
the existing local retailers in the market area are already satisfying
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Relevant Plans

Below is a summary of how other relevant town of Warrenton and regional plans addressed economic
development.

Town of Warrenton

2001 Economic Development Strategic Plan


 Limited, inconsistent hours of business might contribute to retail leakage
o Increase Sunday hours
o Address inconsistencies
 Capitalize on/market Warrenton’s beauty
 Capitalize on/market Warrenton’s relatively high levels of public safety (low crime)
 Strengths/opportunities:
o Airlie
o Tourism
o Further build on business development resources, entrepreneurship &
innovation (George Mason, community college)
o More “capture” of commuter workforce
o Maximize building reuse opportunities
o Enhance training programs for skilled craftsman and other trades
o Attract more artisans
 Weaknesses/challenges:
o Outdated, confusing, complicated zoning code and daunting permitting
processes
o Could be more pedestrian friendly, especially outside of Old Town
o Lack of class A office
o High levels of out-commuting
o Trend toward online sales

2000-2025 Comprehensive Plan (adopted in 2002)


Chapter 3 – Economic Policies (page 3-117):
 Ensure that an adequate amount of land is available for commercial and industrial
growth commensurate with expected population growth
 Coordinate economic development efforts with local, regional, and state programs
and agencies, in order to remain economically competitive
 Promote expanded tourism activity, using historic CBD as the key element

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Urban Development Areas


The goal of plans developed under this State of Virginia program is to create stronger
connections between local land use policies, transportation, and economic development. The
Town of Warrenton’s UDA plan focuses on enhancing focus areas and gateways within
Warrenton and enhancing our brand as a destination place and a community. The main goals of
the plan include promoting mixed Use and infill development; improving streetscapes; using
incentives to support business growth consistent with the plan; developing design guidelines;
improving lighting; creating new pocket parks; and calming traffic.
The plan identified four focus areas:

Old Town UDA

 Create anchors at both ends of Old Town


o Cultural Center/New Library at Warrenton Middle School
o Adaptive Reuse of Mosby House
 Infill development behind Main Street/mixed-use development
 Structured parking garage
 Outdoor seating/dining
 Focus on Lee and Horner Streets
 High Density Residential/live-work lofts
 Maintain Old Town historic character; adaptive reuse
 Restaurants
 Marketing, branding, business/event promotion
 Streetscape
 Parking
 Façade program/BID

East Shirley Avenue

 Keep industrial in southern half


 Residential in the northern half, link to Walker Drive
 Expand trail access
 Mix of housing types
 Gateway
 High quality affordable housing

Lee Highway

 Entertainment hub: restaurants, hotel, brewery, office, etc.


 Redevelopment of shopping centers
 Mixed-use technology campus (possible partnership with Virginia Tech)
 Conversion of big box to entertainment venue
 Development plan for key sites

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 Mixed use/infill
 BID
 Business/district marketing
 (Re)development Incentives
 Streetscape improvements

Frost and Broadview UDA

 Medical Center Campus


 Sustainable living
 “Hospital in hub”
 Senior housing with direct access to hospital, medical offices, and all levels of
care
 (Re)development incentives
 Development plan for key sites
 Streetscape improvements
 Hotel
 Adaptive reuse

Experience Old Town Warrenton Strategic Plan


 Engage commercial property owners and property managers to determine
property owner needs and desires to maximize investment
 Build better relationships with property managers and commercial realtors to
understand their clients’ and prospects’ needs, then engage other stakeholders
to potentially meet those needs
 Coordinate development of recruitment materials and establish a “Red Carpet
Ambassadors” team to greet and entice potential new businesses
 Communicate available grants and financial incentives for existing and
prospective businesses and investors to locate in OTW or grow their business in
OTW
 Reduce empty store fronts via pop-ups for retail, art and indoor farmer’s market
opportunities
 Engage merchants groups to better communicate marketing opportunities and
events that will drive business through their doors
 Deliver effective branding and communication for all OTW efforts to coordinate
with town and county messages for consistent communication
 Market the town: Top 10 lists, magazines, etc.
 Provide an open sourced event calendar for OTW centric events to better
coordinate efforts

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 Identify potential public and private open green spaces to outdoor opportunities
including outdoor seating, public art, etc.
 Wayfinding, directional and directory/kiosk signage to help visitors navigate
OTW
 Conduct Property and Business Mix Assessements
 Develop co-op marketing/advertising opportunites for merchants and NP's to
participate in
 Promote businesses with Sunday, or longer hours through social media/Town
Crier
 Provide events to bring shoppers into old town: Sidewalk sales, cocoa on the
street, Sunday events after church, First Fridays

Go Virginia Region 9 Economic Growth and Diversification Plan


o Region 9 = Fauquier, Culpeper, Rappahannock, Madison, Orange, Greene, Louisa,
Albemarle, Fluvanna, and Nelson counties (total population about 430,000)
o Targeted industries: Financial and Business Services, Food and Beverage
Manufacturing, Information Technology/Communications, Light Manufacturing,
Biomedical and Biotechnology
o Framework initiatives:
 Talent development: Develop career exploration and awareness, strengthen
communication within the talent development system, develop sustainable
sector-based strategies to implement talent solutions, develop and promote
career pathways
 Growing existing businesses: Establish broadband partnerships, concentrate
on innovation corridor branding, harness regional assets to develop and
promote biotech hub
 Startups/innovation/commercialization: Grow the entrepreneurial
ecosystem, provide tax incentives for local investors, provide additional
capital for expansion
 Site Opportunities: includes Vint Hill
 Other opportunities: Realign organization focus within the Central VA
Partnership, pursue organizational funding and capacity building
mechanisms for plan implementation

Several of the above listed economic development recommendations appear in multiple plans and/or
were recommended by the Economic Development Working Group/Town Council members, which
suggest that they could be higher community priorities. The matrix on the following page illustrates how
often each item appears in these relevant planning sources. Items that appear in three different plans
are highlighted in bold text in the matrix.

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Sources of Economic Development Planning Items


ED EOTW TOW
Working Strategic UDAs Region 9 2001 ED Comp
Economic development-related recommendations Group Plan Plan Plan Plan Plan
Make retail district hours more consistent
Capitalize on Warrenton’s high levels of public safety
Build on business resources, entrepreneurship & innovation
Maximize building (adaptive) reuse and infill opportunities
Improve business climate: zoning code, permitting processes, taxes & fees
Plan for future business park/buildings & sites suitable for ED projects
Expand boundary for future ED sites and commercial development
Build stronger connections with ED partners
Promote expanded tourism activity, using historic CBD as the key element
Promote mixed-use, infill development
Enhance streetscaping
Consider building investment incentives (e.g., façade improvement grant)
Make active public spaces and outdoor dining for "hanging out"
Create cultural and/or commercial anchors in Old Town
Build a structured parking garage in OTW
Focus on Lee and Horner Streets
Support redevelopment of high density residential/live-work lofts in OTW
Maintain Old Town historic character
Build on food & beverage, restaurants, other artisan businesses
Marketing, branding, business/event promotion
Mix of housing types/workforce housing
Add to entertainment options
Redevelop shopping centers, big boxes
Planning and pre-development for business/technology campus
Support growth of Medical Center Campus/Hopsital in hub
Explore opportunities for additional hotel
Work with property owners & brokers to assess needs and find solutions
Connect businesses/investors to grants, tax credits, other funding sources
Reduce empty store fronts
Develop an open sourced community calendar for events, etc.
Install wayfinding/directory/kiosk signage to help visitors navigate
Data: analyze local business mix and building/property inventory
Add commercially-oriented events to stimulate business
Support broadband partnerships, innovation corridor branding

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Economic Development Incentives


Town of Warrenton
 Permit Fee Rebates or Waivers; 100% Rebate for 3 years on BPOL Tax, Business Personal
Property Tax, Accelerated Permit Review/Target Industry Status:
o Technology Zone
o Defense Production Zone
o Tourism Zone
 Small Business Assistance Grant: typically, a $5,000 grant to existing businesses to use
toward new business initiatives

State of Virginia
 Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund  Research and Development Tax Credit
 Virginia Investment Partnership  Green Job Creation Tax Credit
Grant/Major Eligible Employer Grant  Sales and Use Tax Exemptions
 Virginia ED Incentive Grant  Property Tax Exemptions
 Governor's Agriculture and Forestry  ED Access Program
Industries Development Fund  Transportation Partnership
 Virginia Jobs Investment Program Opportunity Fund
 Corporate Income Tax Credits  VA Small Business Financing Authority
 Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit  Technology Zones
 Recycling Equipment Tax Credit  Defense Production Zones
 Worker Retraining Tax Credit

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ASSESSMENT
This section provides a summary listing of Warrenton’s primary strengths and weaknesses as a location for business,
as well as opportunities for economic growth and issues that may impede or shape those opportunities. These
opinions were gathered from the Economic Development Working Group, interviews with Town Council and
stakeholders, and by research.

The results of this research provided critical information leading to an understanding of Warrenton’s:
 Marketable strengths that can be capitalized upon
 Product deficiencies that can be corrected cost-effectively
 (Re)development opportunities
 Issues having an impact on the community’s or region’s economic development future
 Potential obstacles to growing our local businesses, growing the local job base, and attracting capital
investment

Warrenton Real Estate Market

 Residential, retail, and office rents/prices in Warrenton/Fauquier are lower than they are in
Ashburn, Manassas, and other cities/towns within reasonable commuting distance of DC,
Arlington, Alexandria, Tyson’s, McLean
 Residential, retail, and office rents/prices in Warrenton/Fauquier are higher than they are in
Culpeper County
 Interviews with local property brokers indicate the following (a windshield property survey will
be completed during Q4 of FY2018):
o 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
o Office vacancies are relatively high
 Almost all of the available office units advertised on loopnet are smaller “strip-
style” offices – typically about 1,700 to 3,000 square feet
 Typically, such spaces would be filled by neighborhood/local service firms such as real
estate brokers, primary care doctors, attorneys, contractors, financial services, insurance,
etc., which would employ around 2 to 8 workers
 Because such firms depend mostly on localize business, these office units are not
likely to be filled until and/or unless additional residential is added to the local
trade area (i.e., more rooftops)
 Note: office vacancies throughout NOVA are relatively high compared to
residential or retail space
 Commercial real estate firm, JLL found earlier this year that the Northern Virginia office
market has pockets that are recovering, but that the region as a whole is still struggling,
with a 20-year historical high for office vacancies and not much improvement forecast in
the coming years; Fairfax County’s office vacancy rate of 21.1 percent is second behind
Arlington, followed by Alexandria (19 percent), Loudoun County (16.6 percent) and
Prince William County (15.6 percent).
 Residential vacancy rates are very low as demand for housing outpaces supply

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 Supply was historically constricted by local development and redevelopment


regulations
 The market is very hot for single family houses that are affordable for younger
families (between $300,000 and $425,000) due to scarcity of product
 Developers that do have land permitted for new residential development (a
scarce commodity) may have the market leverage to build bigger, more
expensive houses because not all families can be accommodated at lower price
points
 The lower-density rural, picturesque areas/neighborhoods do make Fauquier a
very attractive bedroom community (high levels of out-commuting)
 Among in-commuters, however, many workers in service occupations (teachers,
fire fighters, nurse aids, etc.) cannot afford to live in Fauquier County and thus
live in Culpeper and other less expensive neighboring counties
 Note: residential development pressures in/on Fauquier County will continue to
rise in the future whether the communities have a growth strategy or not
 Warrenton is not at risk of becoming another Gainesville or Manassas because
there simply isn’t enough available land within the town for that to happen
 Contrary to popular belief, financially secure Millennials are now purchasing homes at rates similar to
previous generations
o A recent report, however, found that Millennials, especially Late Millennials (now in their 20s),
tend to delay these purchases, forgoing the traditional “starter homes,” and waiting to purchase
more expensive homes with their first purchases
 National real estate/business financing trends:
o Increase in non-bank lenders
o Increase in “bankable” cash deals
o Slowing new supply: only modest growth in a few sectors, such as student and seniors
housing, single-tenant industrial (regional distribution centers), and repurposing existing
developments (e.g., suburban malls); Lenders were slow to fund new construction
(particularly hotel and hospitality) coming out of the last recession, and the current lending
environment is showing signs of reticence partly due to financial regulations, although other
sources (e.g. insurance companies) are filling gaps.
o Strong growth in multifamily; developers can’t get access to enough funding to meet the
unmet demand for MFR
o Real estate analysts are gloomy about medical office
o Interest rates have increased modestly and are expected to increase more this year;
however, with relatively low inflation, rates are not expected to rise on an accelerated basis
o Global uncertainty is driving greater investment in safer U.S. markets

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Retail and Tourism

Old Town

 Roughly 90 percent of local business sales happen on the Lee Highway/Broadview Avenue. W.
Shirley corridor; however, Old Town is the tourism destination
 Relatively high number of vacant storefronts on Main Street
 Warrenton has a comparative advantage due to low crime in that we can incorporate Project for
Public Spaces-type elements to enliven public spaces (movable furniture, comfortable benches,
taller plantings, etc.) while other communities must utilize “defensive design”
 The farmers market, which is held once per week in Old Town, spring to fall, is successful;
however, no other commercially-oriented festivals in Old Town
 Community festivals are very well attended; however, they generate modest sales for Old Town
merchants
 Modest foot traffic during “happy hour” except during community festivals
 Thriving Main Street-anchored communities tend to have the following features:
o A diversity of restaurants, eating places, food shops that create “restaurant districts” or
nodes, along with district-, or retail center- compatible entertainment, boutiques, and
supporting businesses
o Use Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and/or other vehicles to create regional “draws”
(e.g., major resort, children’s museum, conference hotel), upgrade the physical
infrastructure (structured parking, wayfinding signage, outdoor dining plaza)
o At the same time, though, they preserve and embrace their history, authenticity,
identity, sense of community
o Identify their target consumers, proactively market to them, and then deliver on their
promises (e.g., consistent, predictable business hours); if the target group is adults 30-45
years old, they’ll have infrastructure such as drop-in daycare, child-friendly restaurants
and entertainment venues

Greater Warrenton

 Increases in meals tax revenues for FY18 have underperformed projections (meals taxes
make up roughly 17% of total tax revenues)
 Strong equestrian tradition: Gold Cup (Spring and Fall), Warrenton Horse Show
o Connections between horse show(s) and Old Town are not well capitalized
 There is a perception that Vint Hill/New Baltimore residents rarely come to Warrenton
o These residents can quickly, conveniently reach shopping and entertainment options in
Gainesville, Manassas, etc., or drive to the NOVA core on the weekends when traffic is
lighter
o Many of these residents also work in urbanized NOVA, so their daily routines, or
geographical “orbits” are centered in that direction, while Warrenton becomes less

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familiar, or perceived as a place that hosts “community events” and/or as a pass-through


to the mountains, etc.
 Current perceptions of Warrenton among locals:
o Married couples: we love living in Warrenton and raising our family here, but on “date
night” we go to a place like Culpeper, which has more of a “vibe” and more “hangout”
activities/spots?
 Davis Street (and connected side streets) have anchors that define the place,
creating flow back and forth between points of interest/reference – a start and a
finish (an experience)
 OTW is not bookended, lacks anchors
 Culpeper put considerable CIP $ into capitalizing on that pedestrian “drag”
experience between the anchors
 Enhanced alleys
 Crosswalks
 Parking
o Promote their “soft” assets (history, walk-able streets, authentic character)
o Because visitors tend to spend more money than locals, thriving Main Street
communities design some of their events to attract visitors/shoppers from outside the
local market area and reward these visitors for their patronage; these events
complement the other community-oriented events
o Tap into youth, amateur, semi-pro sports programs as revenue sources and tourism
drivers: swim meets, soccer tournaments, wood bat leagues, etc.
 Airlie transitioning from almost 100 percent federal government conferences, relatively closed
campus, to a balance between government conference, private sector conferences, and some
individual visitors
o Airlie, of course, wishes to capture most of their guests’ food and entertainment dollars,
but it also benefits Airlie for guests, especially guests staying 3+ days, to have good
options when they venture off campus
o When visitors ask Airlie concierge about restaurants and things-to-do, options and
marketing collateral are both limited

Marketing/Branding/Identity

 Why is Warrenton relevant? What do we love about this place?


o Key words/phrases: intimate, face-to-face, family, family activities, quality of life, safe
neighborhoods, wine country, horses, beer, pet-friendly, outdoors
 Key themes – assets, character, values (starting with social selling, then outside)
 Authenticity. A sense of real
 Small town feel
 Keep it local; locally grown food
 Variety (the story?)
 Unique experience
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 Story of family
 A place you can live! Raise a family
 Holistic living: nature, health, outdoors
 Active outdoors: Hiking, fishing, horses, space, green
 History
 Wine
 Proximity to DC/NOVA: “best of both worlds”
 Gateway to the Piedmont, to nature
 The people
 Civic engagement, passion: if you raise kids here, participate in the community, everywhere you
go is a classroom or a meeting space
 Audience Definition:
o Currently lives in greater DC: NOVA, city of DC, Maryland
• Professionals, entrepreneurs, business owners, technology skills, “creative economy”
workers, executives
• Work in, manage, or own small businesses (typically 0-9 employees)
• Many will work for, or run, “decentralized” businesses that do not revolve around a
single, traditional office building/HQ; they might still need to go to DC/Arlington/etc.
2-3 times a week, but not constant commuting
• Married with children, or plan to have children in the next few years
• Empty nesters, or
• Early Millennial generation (born 1977-1987, or about 30-40 years old
o Millennials buying "suburban" houses when they have the means, but somewhat
higher desire for walkable, etc.
o We are not a realistic fit for 20-somethings
o FC/Warrenton is expensive, but not as expensive as urbanized NOVA (Millennials
leaving expensive urban locations)
o Part-time telecommuting is on the rise (significantly faster than increases in full-time
telecommuting): Warrenton in sweet spot for this . . .
o Schools (smaller class size)
o Quality of life (target those who like open spaces)
o Gateway between mountains and urbanized NOVA (Get to mountains in 45 minutes
or Trader Joe's/IKEA in 45 minutes)
o Citizens prefer moderate residential growth, so target those who bring a lot to the table and
embrace values
o Target audience has greater propensity to reinvest in historic properties, embrace our
values, etc.

Entrepreneurship

 Mason Enterprise Center in Old Town Warrenton – which is part of Fauquier County’s business
incubator system – is an excellent facility with outstanding entrepreneur support resources

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o Currently, the facility does have a few potential growth companies; however, it is still
functioning primarily as a quasi co-working space for 1-2 person “shops” with limited
growth potential (e.g., insurance, real estate brokers)
 Fauquier County has a strong base of technical professionals – engineers, technology, cyber
security, defense industry workers, and other professionals with specialized skills, which lend
themselves to consulting work
 Fauquier County also has a relatively high concentration of residents in their 40s, which is a
prime age cohort for entrepreneurs
o To what extent, however, is this potential base of entrepreneurs inclined to be relatively
loyal to their organizations and/or vested in generous retirement programs? Many
Fauquier professionals commute to jobs with federal agencies/contractors and/or major
corporate employers in urbanized NOVA,

Local Business Climate


 An online business survey was recently sent to over 180 businesses located within the town of
Warrenton
o 110 responses, with 84 businesses providing detailed responses
 51.7% employ 0-3 people
 21.8% employ 4-10 people
 13.79% employ 10-25 people
 12.64% employ more than 25 people
o The most positive factors for businesses in Warrenton are accesses to markets and
access to high quality workforce
o The most negative factors for businesses in Warrenton are high rents and business
permitting
o Businesses were asked, “If the Town of Warrenton were to make changes to its current
policies pertaining to local businesses, which would be likely to have the biggest positive
impacts on your business (please rank in order of importance)?”
 These four responses all received relatively strong support:
 Lower BPOL tax rates
 Faster and/or less expensive zoning and business permitting processes
and fees
 Creation of an online hub for small businesses
 Industry-themed marketing campaigns
 “More residential development” was not as big of a priority for businesses that
responded to the survey
 Town of Warrenton taxes and fees are competitive compared to other VA jurisdictions
o Relatively low property tax rates and water utility rates
 Warrenton property owners, however, also pay Fauquier County real estate
taxes, which were recently increased by 12%
o Redevelopment of “big box” stores into multi-unit retail buildings often necessitates
redevelopers paying for multiple tap fees
o Because commercial property prices/rents are relatively high compared to Culpeper
County, e.g., the competitive tax rates are partly offset by higher rents – i.e., from the
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perspective of businesses, the “overhead” costs are rents plus BPOL, Business Personal
Property Tax, and Real Estate taxes

Access to Markets
 Warrenton is within close driving distance of over 120,000 households in a region with high levels of
disposable income:
o Within a 5-mile radius of Old Town Warrenton (2017 ESRI Business Analyst):
 25,316 persons
 8,734 households
 2.71 average household size
o Within a 20-mile radius of Old Town Warrenton (2017 ESRI Business Analyst):
 375,191 persons
 123,614 households
 3.02 average household size
 1.81% annual growth rate
 $120,981 average household income
o The challenge is that other nearby market areas in NOVA (e.g., Gainesville, Manassas)
have an even stronger base of population and offer a more diverse mix of retail and
service options, which contributes to retail/services “leakages” from Fauquier County,
especially from the Vint Hill/New Baltimore area, into Prince William County and other
adjacent counties
 Warrenton/Fauquier is a very desirable location for residential development: commutes to
urbanized areas of NOVA/DC typically about 0.5 to 1.5 hours.
 45-minute drive from Warrenton to Washington Dulles International Airport

Telecommunications
 Warrenton is located in close proximity to major “pipelines” of high speed telecommunications
fiber, which presents commercial/industrial possibilities
o Data center developers have shown frequent interest in Warrenton
 “Retail” high speed internet service is widely available in Warrenton, but it is limited in more rural
areas of Fauquier County
o On the one hand, concentrated connectivity within the Service Districts can help to spur
office and technology businesses in those districts
o On the other hand, the connectivity “blind spots” have numerous negative implications:
 Discourages some professionals/companies that intend to locate their primary offices
in town but might wish to live in rural parts of Fauquier
 A segment of higher income business executives and professionals are attracted to
the idea of living in “horse country”
 Limits online accessibility for students
o Better connectivity throughout the county will better position Warrenton, not just Fauquier
County, to compete in a future when a company’s “office” becomes an increasingly more
fluid concept
 Fauquier County is working on a countywide broadband initiative
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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Education
 Primary and Secondary Education
o Fauquier County public schools score high in academic ratings (including standardized test
scores) compared to the rest of Virginia and very high in comparison to the U.S. overall
 18 of 19 schools in the district are fully accredited by the Virginia Dept. of Education
o Standardized scores for Fauquier County are slightly lower compared to the nationally-
recognized Prince William County and Loudoun County schools, but Fauquier schools have
lower student to teacher ratios (13 to 1) and a lower dropout rate (only 9 percent) compared
to these neighboring counties
 High school graduation rate in 2016 was 91.5%, which is among the highest in the
state
o Fauquier County Schools have excellent specialized programs in areas such as
virtual/technology programs, world languages, fine arts, STEM, professional learning Gifted
And Advanced Programs
o Over 2,000 students attend private schools – both religious and non-religious
 Higher Education
o Lord Fairfax Community College:
 2 Fauquier campuses: Warrenton and Vint Hill
 Offers more than 75 associate and certificate degree programs in a wide variety of
disciplines
 Access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a
four-year institution
 Serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for
employees and employers
 More than 7,600 unduplicated credit students and more than 10,450 individuals in
professional development and business and industry courses annually
o George Mason University (closest academic campus in Prince William County):
 Mason Enterprise Center, on Main Street in Old Town Warrenton: provides its client
companies with a professional work environment, support facilities, training, access
to George Mason University business counselors and co-working space, among other
resources.

Development/Redevelopment
 Limited land and sites available within Town of Warrenton
 No option for sub-metering? (Otherwise, commercial developers pay full costs of tap fees)
 Land costs are high; possible mismatch between R.O.I. for property investments versus what local
trade area will support in terms of affordable rents
 West of Lee Street: underutilized parcels in the vicinity of Claire’s at the Depot, railroad pocket
park/historic railroad
o Because this area is lower in elevation than Main Street, 3-4 story buildings here would not
compete with the height and profile of the Main Street building fabric and/or viewsheds
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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

 Town/County parking lot off Lee Street (next to County Jail)


 Parking deck at Fifth Street between Main Street and Lee Street, with hardscape/parking
improvements to the length of the alleys connecting this potential parking deck location to Second
Street/Culpeper Street blocks

Workforce and Commuting Patterns


 NOVA workforce: increasing need for cyber, law enforcement, teachers
 Fauquier County workforce – current needs:
o High demand for skilled trades, heavy equipment operators, diesel mechanics
o Big job pipeline for highway construction projects
o LFCC needs additional funding for welding training programs
o How can we better retain the workers that go through LFCC training programs or learn
valuable skills here?
 Continued high levels of out-commuting toward urbanized NOVA; recently, workers from southern
Fauquier County are increasingly commuting to Stafford/Spotsylvania counties (Fredericksburg) and
Culpeper County
 Many workers in service fields such as teachers, medical aids, first responders, etc. live in
neighboring counties where housing is more affordable and commute to work in Fauquier County
 Lord Fairfax Community College – Workforce Solutions: high-quality, relevant course offerings in
business, professional development and continuing education; trains hands-on skills that transfer
directly into workplace
o Programs for credential-seeking professionals, including “fast track” programs
o Robust on-site business and organization training programs for employers
o Industry recognized certification programs
o Certificate and Credential programs in high-demand skills, including HR, project
management, technology fields, healthcare, pharmacy, building trades, high skilled
manufacturing
 The Work Place, Fauquier County career resource center: job postings; assistance with establishing
new email accounts and job search web sites; computer and internet access; resume, application
and job preparation assistance; free on-line computer classes

Buildings and Sites


Industrial sites/districts
 Marketing of Warrenton industrial sites has generated limited interest in the past few decades
 Sites/parcels have been rezoned from Industrial to Industrial Mixed-Use
 The former Sivaco Wire Factory site, at 615 Falmouth Street:
o In August 2015, the Planning Commission recommended denial of rezoning request for
plan to build a mixed-use development on this site to include 288 workforce housing
units
o Data center developers have shown recent interest in this site (which has a 3” water
main)
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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

o Potential to redevelop this site with assistance of federal and/or State grants/tax credits
 Northwest corner of Lee Highway and Blackwell Road (above Country Chevrolet):
o Previously considered for a retail development; however, large-scale commercial
development will necessitate an upgrade to the adjacent intersection
o Data center developers have shown recent interest in this site
o Good potential as a technology/business park
 Walker Drive:
o Town Council approached a rezoning of a 31-acre parcel from Industrial to Industrial-
Planned Unit Development
o This area is transitioning more toward a mixed-use commercial/residential environment

Office/Technology Sites
 Office pads on Blackwell Road
o Good potential for 15,000+ SF Class A office building if the opportunity arises
 Northwest corner of Lee Highway and Blackwell Road: see above

Target Industries

Fauquier County: Shift Share Analysis

Shift share is a standard regional analysis method that attempts to determine how much of regional job
growth can be attributed to national trends and how much is due to unique regional factors. It can help
answer why employment is growing or declining in a regional industry, cluster, or occupation. It does not
indicate why these industries are competitive, but it does help to identify good possible investment targets.

A shift share analysis of Fauquier County employment growth by sector (categorized by NAICS 4-digit
industry codes) between April 2014 and April 2017 identified a number of industry sectors for which recent
employment growth is attributed to unique regional factors. Some of these industries probably grew
outside of town limits because they are not good fits for Warrenton: e.g., NAICS 4233 Lumber and const.
supply merchant wholesalers and NAICS 5629 Remediation and other waste services. Other sectors that
ranked highly in the shift share analysis, however, are likely to be good fits for Warrenton:
• NAICS 7225 Restaurants and other eating places • NAICS 4442 Lawn, garden equipment stores
• NAICS 5411 Legal services • NAICS 8129 Other personal services
• NAICS 6116 Other schools and instruction • NAICS 5412 Accounting and bookkeeping services
• NAICS 5112 Software publishers • NAICS 5616 Investigation and security services
• NAICS 5111 Newspaper, book, directory publishers • NAICS 3121 Beverage manufacturing
• NAICS 5419 Other professional & technical services • NAICS 5413 Architectural and engineering services
• NAICS 4452 Specialty food stores

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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Fast-Growing Industry Sectors: U.S. economy


We must also pay attention to fast growing industries/sectors in the U.S., even if
Warrenton/Fauquier County is not attracting a large “share” in these industries/sectors right
now – because Warrenton/Fauquier County might be able to position itself to take a larger
share moving forward.

The fast-growing sectors listed to the right are mostly categorized using 6-digit NAICS codes,
which are more specific than the 4-digit codes we used in the shift share analysis. None of these
sub-sectors fall under any of the larger 4-digit categories listed above (from the shift share
analysis); however, they are good fits for Warrenton, with those highlighted in yellow being
especially compatible with our higher ranked shift share sectors, consistent with our marketing
vision, and/or medical-related.

Fastest growing industry sectors in the U.S., 2016

2016
Computer systems design and related services growth
18%
Services to Buildings and Dwellings 14%
Other Professional, Scientific and Technical Services 13%
Other Specialty Trade Contractors

Other sectors/industries with high employment growth:


Electronic Shopping
Offices of physical, occupation and speech therapists, and audiologists
Home health care services
Continuing-care retirement communities
Telemarking, call centers, back office
Marketing consulting services
Portfolio management
Pet care services
Employment placement agencies
Administrative management and general management consulting services
Internet publishing and broadcasting and web search portals
Sports and recreation instruction

National medical trends

o Increasing reliance on urgent care clinics, ambulatory medicine, in-patient visits,


“walk in” on-demand facilities, which presents challenges to hospital industry
o Younger people more likely to engage in telemedicine, use health apps, etc.

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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

 Health IT is one of the fastest growing new industry sectors, with a lot of
venture capital flowing into new ventures; however, this field can be
volatile and unpredictable and some of the best ideas and most useful
technologies might be difficult to translate into profitable business
models; moreover, growth in these sectors concentrated on west coast,
partly due to west coast time advantage
 Fauquier Health
o Current specializations:
 Orthopedics
 Women’s Services
 Outpatient (Fauquier Health is very convenient)
o Future concentration:
 Oncology
o 3-6% decline in emergency visits
o 23% of Fauquier Health business comes from Culpeper County
o When recruiting doctors/specialists from various national backgrounds, one
challenge that Fauquier Health has is the relative lack of cultural diversity in
Fauquier County (foreign born doctors on the rise)
o Patients visiting Fauquier Health have little difficulty their ways to, and on, the
campus; however, patients/guests frequently complain about not being able to
find shopping, services, etc. around town when they venture “off campus”
o Haymarket hospital, in an area with a relatively young population, is losing
money and projects to struggle for the next 10+ years

Quality of Life

Warrenton assets
• Great place to raise a family: good schools, relaxed lifestyle, low traffic, high levels of
public safety/low crime rates
• Warrenton is a lifestyle gateway: situated within a beautiful landscape of wineries,
horse farms, and well-kept neighborhoods, Warrenton is only a 30+ minute drive
east to world class shopping and other amenities, or a 30+ minute drive west to
trout fishing, hiking, and other outdoor activities in the Blue Ridge Mountains
• Warrenton is a charming historic community: walkable streets, historical sites, tree-
lined streets, a greenway/trail system

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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

• Warrenton Aquatic and Recreation Facility (WARF): 60,000 square foot building
featuring an 11 lane, 25 yard-by-25 meter indoor competition pool; a therapeutic
spa; leisure pool with a water slide and a lazy river; 3,200 square foot fitness room

Lifestyle trends
1. Early Millennials consistently chose options correlated with autonomy and the ability to self-
direct their schedules and work
2. 71% of Early Millennials said they would give up well paid jobs for better work-life balance

Partnerships

 Fauquier Chamber of Commerce


 Fauquier County Economic Development Department
 Fauquier County Economic Development Authority
 Experience Old Town Warrenton
 Mason Enterprise Center
 Lord Fairfax Community College
 PATH Foundation
 Old Town Merchants

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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

ACTION PLAN
This section provides a breakdown of all the recommended action steps that the town of Warrenton
should pursue to promote the economic development strategies described herein for the next two
years.

The Town of Warrenton’s 2020 Strategic Economic Development Plan is a two-year action plan for
promoting positive economic change in Warrenton. As such, the majority of these items will be
completed within that two year horizon and can therefore have an immediate positive impact on
Warrenton’s business climate. For other strategies, the community will first have to lay a foundation –
via planning, analyses, capacity building, etc. – before proceeding to concrete action steps. So, the
following action plan does include recommendations that will take three or five or more years to really
carry out. The goal of this plan, though, is to emphasize immediate and realizable goals, strategies, and
actions as much as possible.

The action steps are organized under following strategic areas:

 Marketing  Broadview Avenue


 Restaurant/food & beverage  Entertainment/tourism
 General retail  Planning/business permitting
 EOTW economic vitality  Grow our own businesses
 Building/property inventory  Industry development
 Redevelopment opportunities  ED buildings and sites

For each of the above strategic areas, the following worksheets summarize the overall strategic goals we
are trying to achieve; provide background information (if applicable); list the major recommended
action steps; and a partial schedule for completion of each item. Note: when this draft plan is presented
to Town Council, the Council will be asked to prioritize the various strategies and action items, at which
point the schedule will be organized based on those priorities.

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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Marketing
Strategy
Capture more local/regional shopping dollars; attract more visitors; facilitate investment. Proactively
market Warrenton to a specific audience to maximize positive economic impact on the community.

Background Information

 Emphasize digital marketing, but continue to do selective print marketing where effective,
including in partnership with Fauquier County Economic Development
 Start with social selling
 Concentrate on attracting versus/talent (people) as opposed to marketing to site selectors; site
selector marketing is expensive and we do not yet have suitable sites in place, so if we attracted
them, we don’t yet have places to locate the companies

Major Action Steps and Schedule


Action Steps Schedule
Digital marketing program: Phase I FY18 Q4
 Digital marketing firm, Model B hired in March 2018 to complete
marketing plan, branding, strategy development

Digital marketing program: Phase II FY19 Q1-Q3


 Solicit quotes from digital marketing firms to execute the
marketing strategy
 Execute digital marketing campaigns – paid advertisements – as
recommended in the marketing plan
 Deploy “guerilla” marketing at special events as recommended in
the marketing plan (e.g. geofencing)

Economic Development manager markets Warrenton economic


development opportunities at professional conferences: using both
printed materials that are consistent with our ED marketing brand
and by engaging in social media while at conferences
 Go to conferences/events within driving distance of Warrenton to
maximize travel and marketing budgets

Economic Development Manager and other local advocates and


champions take advantage of other opportunities to engage in face-
to-face marketing/networking within the region

Economic Development site/webpages


 Update TOW ED webpages based on recommendations from
digital marketing firm
 Discuss opportunities with our ED partners to create a shared
partnership web portal/landing page

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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Restaurant; Food & Beverage


Strategy
Make Warrenton a restaurant, food, and beverage destination town for both foodies and families; help
existing local restaurants, food and beverage establishments to thrive; build on the existing cluster of
wineries, breweries, bakeries/cake decorators, farm vendors, and other food & beverage retailers.

Background Information
 60+% of retail prospects that are interested in the Warrenton market are restaurants or other
food & beverage retailers
 Restaurant/food & beverage: best, most realistic anchors for thriving retail centers/districts in
Warrenton, given retail market trends
 Converting retail spaces to restaurants/food production is expensive and complicated
 Old Town Warrenton has a relatively low percentage of retail spaces with kitchens

Major Action Steps and Schedule


Action Steps Schedule
Work with existing local food & beverage businesses to be more
profitable:
 Support efforts of EOTW Restaurant Sub-committee (began
meeting in February 2018), a network of OTW food and FY18 Q4-FY19 Q4
beverage businesses; ideas this committee are considering
include:
o Coupons
o Co-marketing
o Event calendar
o Restaurant Week
 Form a Restaurant Roundtable group: a quarterly forum for FY18 Q4
any Warrenton restaurants
 Recruit a regional-destination restaurant headlined by a
“rising star” chef
o Meet with industry contacts, who have local/regional
connections, to develop a prospect list
o Identify potential locations
o Determine resources available to support the project
 Other recruitment targets: 1-2 popular chains, including at
least one drive-thru chain, which will help meals tax baseline
o Kid-friendly restaurant
o Trendy fast food/fast casual
 FAM Tour for restaurant brands, developers, site selectors
Chain targets:
Burgers (30+% of market) drive-thru: Sonic, Steak & Shake
Burgers fast casual: Smashburger, Burger 21, Freddy’s Steak Burgers
Bagels/deli, Jimmy Johns
Chicker: Popeyes, Raising Kanes, Zaxby’s
Panda Express
Zoe’s Kitchen

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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

General Retail
Strategy
Help existing local retailers to succeed; find good locations for prospects that will position them to be
successful in our market area; attract new retailers that will help to diversify the Warrenton retail mix
and reinforce our marketing brand and image

Background Information
 Recruitment focus on “experiential” retail and/or missing niches in the local market area, which
is most likely to be successful
 No recent local retail market study, which are expensive
 The Town does have access to ESRI Business Analyst, via our ED partners/Fauquier County GIS

Major Action Steps and Schedule


Action Steps Schedule
Reach out to existing local retailers to address issues and
opportunities: see Business Retention and Expansion page

Develop local retail analytics, which can be shared with prospects and
site selectors and posted on the ED webpage
 Purchase/borrow ESRI Business Analyst account
access/subscription via Fauquier County GIS
 Discuss with ED partners possibly sharing the costs of a
moderately-priced proprietary data platform to enhance our
analytics
o The goal is to be able to demonstrate to developers,
retailers that we have good opportunities that do not fit
typical site selector formulas

Non-restaurant recruitment targets include:


 Pet boutiques
 Specialty food stores
 Beer, wine stores
 Lawn and garden equipment and supplies stores
 Other “experiential” retail concepts
 Commercial entertainment (potentially could fit under Town’s
Tourism Zone program)

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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

EOTW Economic Vitality


Strategy
Support Experience Old Town Warrenton’s strategies to promote business growth in Old Town,
attract more visitors and investment, and become a premier Virginia Main Street community

Background Information
 Currently, the retail vacancy rate in Old Town is relatively high
 60+% of retail prospects that are interested in the Warrenton market are restaurants or other
food & beverage retailers
 Current (perceived) activities voids in Old Town/Warrenton: date night spots, family
entertainment venues, bars/restaurants that attract a professional happy hour crowd
 Thriving, well-attended community events, but commercial business generated from these
events is modest

Major Action Steps and Schedule


Action Steps Schedule
Participate in Virginia Main Street (VMS) events such as the RevUp in
April 2018; explore VMS grant opportunities

Recruit prospects to fill vacant storefronts


 Concepts: pets, wine/cheese, fishing
 Pop Ups: enlist building owners, pre-permitting, insurance,
subsidized rent (State/foundation grant source?)

Update Old Town Warrenton brochure


 Distribute brochure to local hotels and other venues

Recruit two anchor businesses (see food & beverage)

Parking:
 Look for low cost ways to improve wayfinding/signage
directing drivers to spaces
 Promote flex parking opportunities
 Consider using “all day” tag system for OTW employees

Research specific strategies to better monetize community events +


add 1-2 commercially-oriented events

Work with EOTW staff to report on OTW progress

Plan for “October in Warrenton” marketing/events

Create an online, mobile phone-compatible, events calendar

Coordinate with merchants: business hours (first, bring them value,


then ask for buy in); leverage local music scene

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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Commercial Building/Property Inventory


Strategy
Develop an inventory of commercially-zoned buildings and storefronts that are available for rent, lease
or sale; use the inventory to identify suitable locations for specific types of projects; make the inventory
accessible to existing local businesses, prospects, site selectors, other stakeholders.
Background Information
 Building/property data to include factors such as zoning, square footage, contact information,
suitability for kitchen conversion, and other relevant details.
 Previous efforts were made to create such a database, but no database currently exists

Major Action Steps and Schedule


Action Steps Schedule

Windshield vacancy survey (all of Warrenton)


 App developed by Fauquier County GIS Dept. in March 2018 FY18 Q4
 Complete field work data collection FY18 Q4
 Enter data into a database FY18 Q4
 Report findings to Town Council FY18 Q4

Full Inventory (of OTW properties)


 Organize meetings of property owners and brokers group to
assess OTW property market and gather more detailed data on FY18 Q4
OTW properties
 Work with property owners to identify the 2-3 best locations
to support boutique to restaurant conversions
 Enter data into a database
 Analyze whether there is a gap between building reinvestment
R.O.I. versus what rents the market will support (given foot
traffic)

Work with property owners to create a prospect/investor recruitment


strategy for each individual property:
 Short-term approach: recruit first tenant “through the door”
o Will they consider doing a “pop up” strategy
 Longer-term approach: explore options for supporting the
“highest and best use” of the property

Consider adding cost-effective incentives to support the up-


fit/conversions and/or renovation of commercial properties :
 E.g., Façade grants, restaurant conversions, subsidize “pop
ups”

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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Redevelopment Opportunities
Strategy
Facilitate redevelopment of underutilized properties and reinvestment in historic properties; link
building owners, developers, and investors to creative financing sources; focus on properties located in
Old Town, within Urban Development Areas, or on Broadview Avenue
Background Information
 The Town currently has no incentives available for property improvements, e.g. façade
improvement grants
 There is a perception among developers and investors in the region that doing redevelopment
projects in Warrenton is difficult
 High demand for residential development in the market, which could provide financial leverage
to do ground floor retail and structured parking

Major Action Steps and Schedule


Action Steps Schedule
Seek investment interest in denser, mixed-use development in Old
Town Warrenton:
 2nd story lofts
 3-4 story M.U. residential "off" Main Street on lower
elevations
 Look for opportunities to create public private partnerships
(PPPs)
o Local banks have expressed an interest in supporting
projects in Warrenton that include elements such as a
parking deck, mixed-use development, tax credit projects
 Explore low cost ways to create outdoor public nodes in Old
Town (outdoor dining, patios, etc.)

Seek investment interest in mid-density, mixed-use development in


the Urban Development areas

Promote adaptive reuse and infill opportunities

Economic Development Manager will work with Sears redevelopment


team (provide data, suggest prospects, troubleshoot permitting
questions)
 Discuss, internally among Town staff, possibility of water sub-
metering option to reduce tap fee expenses when big boxes
are converted to multiple units

Coordinate with high-value auto dealers on their site needs and site
improvement projects

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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Broadview Avenue
Strategy
Support the success of Broadview Avenue businesses and property owners, including heavy commercial
and drive-thru business formats that currently predominate; at the same time, look for appropriate
opportunities to support catalytic redevelopment at key locations of Broadview Avenue, which will spur
business growth and reinvestment throughout the corridor.

Background Information
 Approximately 90% of commercial sales in Warrenton happen on the primary commercial
corridor of Lee Highway/Broadview Avenue/Shirley Avenue, yet many business owners on
Broadview feel that the Town focuses much of its attention and resources on Old Town,
sometimes to their detriment
 A number of Broadview Avenue businesses are concerned that the construction of medians on
Broadview Avenue will reduce access to their businesses and hurt their sales
 The Broadview corridor was originally developed as a neighborhood-level commercial street,
and therefore was not developed with shared drives and inter-parcel connectors, like the big
commercial centers on Lee Highway have; over the decades, though, Broadview Avenue became
a major commuter thoroughfare, which has caused conflicts between through-traffic and local
business trips

Major Action Steps and Schedule


Action Steps Schedule
If/when the road improvement project issues are addressed and/or
resolved, continue meetings and networking with the Broadview
Avenue Business Group to develop specific ED strategies for this
corridor

Facilitate additional dialogue with specific businesses and property


owners to explore opportunities for shared drives and inter-parcel
connectors

Plan for a signalized 4-way intersection at Gold Cup and Broadview


Avenue
 If/when the Town is committed to this project, market the
redevelopment potential of this intersection to prospective
investors

W. Shirley Avenue and Broadview Avenue UDA: create a


development plan for key sites

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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Entertainment/Tourism
Strategy
Market Warrenton a great place to relax and experience a vibrant town life . . . a cozy hub that
is conveniently located at the center of wineries, horse country, the mountains, and scenic
paradise; begin developing the entertainment/entertainment venues and amenities that also
make Warrenton more of an active hot spot for date nights, family outings, and destination
tourism

Background Information
 Warrenton is already well positioned as a gateway/hub/staycation/2nd home location, but
does not have a lot of active entertainment venues
 Warrenton community festivals are successful, well-attended
 Warrenton horse shows/hunts draw good crowds, too, and are part of Warrenton’s identity;
however, perception among people in the industry that Warrenton does not connect well to
these events

Major Action Steps and Schedule


Action Steps Schedule
Co-market with Airlie, local green/natural/holistic businesses, horse
and hunt groups, other important tourism and lifestyle entities that
reinforce our brand and identity:
 Create/update brochures FY18 Q4
 Design and launch theme-specific digital marketing campaigns that FY19 Q2
are consistent with our brand and marketing strategies

Explore the idea of creating a small-scale food hall/market anchored


by a restaurant that features local foods

Research and consider options for developing a wayfinding plan

Coordinate with local B&Bs, Inns, hotels

Explore possible PPP opportunities to create a cultural destination:


kids museum, sports, etc.

Recruit businesses or programs that feature kids-friendly programs


and activities
Climbing walls, bowling, interactive kids-oriented shops
Develop a commercial infrastructure geared toward families:
Drop in daycare and/or businesses that serve similar function
We’ll work with businesses that won’t to cater to this market (kids
cafes), but we’ll also work with those that do not (fine dining), but
they have two separate marketing tracks and infrastructure

Support the Walker Drive developers’ efforts to recruit entertainment


options as part of the development

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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Planning/Business Permitting
Strategy
Work with the local business community and the Town of Warrenton Planning Department to
complete 2-3 manageable, incremental improvements to business permitting/zoning, which
will help to make Warrenton’s business permitting/zoning process easier to navigate while also
supporting the community’s land use planning goals
Background Information
 Historically, Warrenton has had a reputation of being a difficult place to open and run a business
 The Planning Department is working on several items that will help businesses to navigate the
process: Zoning Matrix, parking revisions, signage permitting revisions, draft zoning amendment
to address proposed Data Center projects

Major Action Steps and Schedule


Action Steps Schedule
Mock business permitting process: invite a local entrepreneur to pose
as a business going through the business permitting process, while
the Economic Development Manager takes notes; the ED Manager
will then work with the Chamber Micro-Business Enterprise Council to
evaluate the process and make recommendations

Update the Guide to Opening a Business in Warrenton


FY18 Q4
Economic Development Department will serve as a business liaison;
for higher priority projects and/or for businesses that need additional
assistance, the Economic Development Manager will serve as a
central point-of-contact through the project review process

Evaluate whether it is advisable to incorporate an expedited


permitting for priority projects

Evaluate if/when zoning/parking regulations do not fit with the


strategies listed in this plan or other community ED goals; where
appropriate, work with the Planning Department to address
inconsistencies

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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Grow Our Own Businesses


Strategy
Nurturing and growing our existing local businesses is the most important, and often the most
impactful, part of economic development:

Background Information
 Nationally, 80%+ of growth comes from expansion of existing firms
 Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) is essential intelligence gathering
 BRE can help speed up local investment
 It can also slow down, or even stop businesses from leaving
 BRE partners include: the Fauquier Chamber, Mason Enterprise Center, Lord Fauquier
Community College/LFCC Small Business Center, Fauquier County Economic Development

Major Action Steps and Schedule


Action Steps Schedule
Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) program: make regular
contacts with Warrenton-area businesses:
 Use brief online surveys and email/social media networking to stay
in regular contact with hundreds of local businesses and track
aggregate data on overall business patterns, areas of concern,
opportunities for growth
 Develop a confidentiality policy for businesses sharing information
 Complete 8-12 in-person interviews with local companies, using a
detailed “long form” questionnaire
 Explore idea of creating a local online business portal, which would
allow businesses to take ownership of the local BRE process
 Report on key findings to Town Council on a quarterly and/or
annual basis
 Economic Development Manager will attend BRE
workshops/training courses to augment expertise

Market the Town’s small business programs to local businesses; help


companies take advantage of financing and incentive programs

Develop and operate an annual Warrenton-focused business and


industry appreciation event

Develop business resource guides

Invite local businesses owners to serve as Warrenton ambassadors,


alongside the ED Manager, at conferences/trade shows

Invite companies that are part of a local cluster of specialized


industries to network and co-market this local niche

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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Target Industries
Strategy
Identify key industry sectors on which to proactively focus our “industry” (i.e., not retail) recruitment
(these targets do not preclude us from recruiting other types of non-retail businesses, as we must be
ready to respond to all inquiries and good leads; rather, the targets are meant as a guide on how to
focus limited recruitment resources; where available buildings/sites are not yet ready to support some
of these projects. Recruit targets in those industry sectors that are immediately supported by existing
sites/infrastructure

Background Information
 Largest existing private sector employer is Fauquier Health
 In Warrenton/Fauquier, the strongest existing “industry” base of companies that produce things
is artisanal manufacturing: e.g., crafts, breweries, food and beverage production
 Local service clusters: publishers, professional & technical services, financial services,
architectural and engineering services

Major Action Steps and Schedule


Action Steps Schedule
Target sector strategies
 Conduct additional research on current list of likely target
industries and add/subtract sectors as appropriate
 Evaluate the needs to industries in these sectors and develop
strategies for creating ED product suitable for
recruitment/growth in these sectors
 Attend industry and trade shows
 Develop and deploy target-specific marketing collateral
 Recruit firms in these sectors in cases where we have suitable,
available sites/buildings

Support Fauquier Health’s expansion plans

Support and market the existing local business clusters:


 Green/natural retailers/services
 Food & beverage/artisanal manufacturing
o Evaluate whether AFID grants would help to support
industry development in these areas
o If the AFID grant is a good fit for these strategies, submit a
grant application
 Defense/GSA/SCIF

Hire a third-party firm to generate industry-specific leads: only deploy


this approach after the above strategies are in place and suitable ED
product is available (see: digital marketing strategy)

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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

ED Buildings and Sites


Strategy
Support the development of buildings and sites that are suitable for economic development projects
that are consistent with this strategic plan and the community’s other planning goals, including but not
limited to the target industry sectors and retail targets described herein; based on our identification of
key industry sectors, create strategies to develop suitable ED product (buildings and sites) and other
supporting infrastructure where needed
Background Information
 Currently, there are two 25+ acre industrial sites within the town of Warrenton
 Given current town boundaries, no contiguous 100+ acre industrial sites
 Development/investor interest in industrial districts has been low
 Blackwell Office Park has Class A space, with additional pad sites in area that can support 20K+
SF office building(s)
 Developers have shown interest in converting some of the existing big box retail stores into
multi-unit retail buildings; sometimes companies will propose to redevelop such buildings as
multi-purpose store front (retail) + customer service center (office)

Major Action Steps and Schedule


Action Steps Schedule
Short-term opportunities: fast-track a “site ready” sites and/or “plug
and play” facilities:
 Form an advisory team to identify sites that can be made “site
ready” within the next two years
 Work with relevant property owners/brokers to support pre-
development of sites, or up-fitting/conversions of buildings in
response to immediate demand-driven opportunities
 Consider developing a virtual building at a selected location
where pre-development tasks are completed
 Look for State of Virginia and/or federal grants, incentives, tax
credits that might be available to support pre-development
and/or building/site improvements on smaller sites
 Market the sites/buildings via the digital marketing program,
at conferences/trade shows, ED partner websites, and ED
collateral

Mid- to long-term opportunities:


 Work with the advisory team to create plan(s) for creating a
larger-scale business/technology park (UDA suggests a
 Look for State of Virginia and/or federal grants, incentives, tax
credits that might be available to support pre-development
and/or building/site improvements on larger sites

 Make CIP, boundary expansion, and other relevant recommendations


to Town Council as appropriate

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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Workforce Development
 Look for opportunities to partner with Lord Fairfax Community College and other ED partners
that specialize in workforce development programs and events.

We rely on these partners to lead local and regional workforce and small business development efforts.
LFCC offers outstanding training programs and certifications for students, professionals, technicians, and
people who work in trades. They serve the business community by offering workforce preparation
programs for employees and employers. Mason Enterprise Center Mason Enterprise Center in
Old Town Warrenton – which is part of Fauquier County’s business incubator system – is an
excellent facility with outstanding entrepreneur support resources.

Entrepreneurship

 Look for opportunities to partner with Lord Fairfax Community College/Small Business
Development Center, Mason Enterprise Center, the Fauquier Chamber, and other ED partners
that specialize in small business development programs and events.
 Regularly attend and participate in Ignite Fauquier events; encourage Warrenton businesses to
participate in the program; encourage more restaurants and food & beverage businesses to
participate in this peer forum
 Initiate a dialogue on the idea of Entrepreneurship in the Schools: the best way to foster
entrepreneurship is to start working with future entrepreneurs when they’re still kids (hopefully,
some of them will return/stay in the area as adults)

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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN: DISCUSSION ITEMS


The below outlined economic development strategies – many of which were suggested by the Economic
Development Working Group, Town Council members, or other stakeholders – involve longer-range
public policy commitments that are best addressed through the Comprehensive Plan Update process.

 Develop workforce housing in the town of Warrenton


 Develop single-family housing that is affordable for younger professional couples
($325K-$400K)
 Build a structured parking in Old Town Warrenton, either as a public project or as part
of a PPP redevelopment/infill project
 Extend the Town boundary to incorporate additional large acreage commercial and
industrial sites
 Plan for a future business /technology park
 Capitalize on safety advantage: create plazas and other spaces within OTW (CIP
projects) that include Project for Public Spaces design concepts (i.e., less need for
defensive design)
 Outdoor dining in Old Town
 Gateway treatments at Main St., Alexandria Pike, Waterloo St. (Walkability Audit)
 Consider developing the central alleyway that runs parallel between Main Street and
Lee Street as a multipurpose parking, service, plaza area
 To encourage pedestrian flow in Old Town – in the absence of a traditional
“dumbbell” anchors model (i.e., linear street with two-anchors-at-each-end) promote
more of a concept: Main Street, Fifth Street, Lee Street, Culpeper Street, with mid-
block plaza/parking/pathway connections and outdoor dining
 Increase sewer and water capacity
 Make modest town boundary extensions in the northeast of town to build future
connections with Marshall (which is 3 exits from 66)
 Launch an entrepreneurship in schools program
 Complete a Broadview Avenue Revitalization Conceptual Plan
 Consider relocating some of more utilitarian government functions to areas outside of
OTW

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(DRAFT) STRATEGIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

IMPLEMENTATION [PENDING PRIORITIZATION FROM


TOWN COUNCIL]
Implementation
Task schedule by quarter
Partner roles and responsibilities
Funding sources

Tracking/monitoring
Benchmarks
Measurables

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