Fredericksburg EDA approves Expo Center agreement, loan
Fredericksburg’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) on Monday approved two major items that will lead to a significant renovation of the Fredericksburg Expo & Conference Center.
The EDA approved an agreement with the Expo Center operator, SAJ Entertainment LLC, and the City of Fredericksburg that will lead to $750,000 in improvements to the facility over the next five years. City Council unanimously approved the agreement last week.
Also on Monday, the EDA unanimously approved a $250,000 loan to SAJ Entertainment that will facilitate half of the upfront investment to the Expo Center. That was done through the EDA’s Invest FXBG loan program. It was the EDA’s largest loan to date.
The City and SAJ Entertainment, whose principals are the same as the Fredericksburg Nationals, will each invest $250,000 upfront into the facility through the agreement. That will lead to much-needed improvements to the Expo Center’s HVAC system, carpeting and furnishings. The City’s funds will come from the Economic Development Opportunity Fund.
The City will invest an additional $50,000 a year for the next five years toward more improvements to the Expo Center such as painting, lighting, security, audio-visual and more. Those funds will come from tax revenue generated by the Expo Center. A recent analysis by Renaissance Planning showed that the Expo Center generates more than $800,000 in tax revenue annually for the City. Through the agreement, the City will get additional marketing exposure at the Expo Center and on the Virginia Credit Union Stadium’s Interstate 95 electronic sign.
“We greatly appreciate the City’s partnership in providing critical assistance to investing in the growth of the Expo Center,” said SAJ Partner Seth Silber. “The City Council’s vote last week to provide funding for key improvements was a huge show of support that will provide for growth at the Expo Center and result in significant increases in tax revenue. The EDA then stepped up to provide a critical loan to facilitate our further investment. These developments demonstrate the City’s ability to fully utilize multiple tools to truly foster growth in the City.”
“The Fredericksburg EDA is very excited to be partnering with the City and SAJ Entertainment to make this critical investment in the Expo Center,” said EDA Chairman Will Mackintosh. “It represents a critical piece of our emerging entertainment district in Celebrate Virginia South, and it fits perfectly with the EDA’s strategic interest in developing the tourism, leisure, and entertainment industries in the City of Fredericksburg.”
The Expo Center improvement project could get under way within the next few months. To read more about the Expo Center, click here.