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APARTMENTS HOT, BOOKSTORES NOT
Second-quarter economic review for the Fredericksburg area

 Production Worker Patsy Gayle, a CVS employee of 17 years, fills orders for stores in the companies warehouse on Lansdowne Road in Fredericksburg on Tuesday, March 13, 2006. Scott Neville photo ------ 4 col color C8 ------ 3 col color
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Date published: 7/23/2011

BY BILL FREEHLING

Here were some of the business stories making news in the Fredericksburg region during the second quarter of 2011:

Two local bookstores--Joseph-Beth Booksellers at The Village at Towne Centre and Borders at the Stafford Marketplace--bite the dust (and another, Borders in Central Park, followed this week). Books-A-Million will take the place of Joseph-Beth at the Spotsylvania mall.

CVS lays off about 100 people at its Lansdowne Road distribution center in Spotsylvania County as the drugstore giant prepares to open a new distribution center in Chemung, N.Y., which will cover some of the territory now served by the Spotsylvania facility.

Building boom continues in North Stafford as BRAC jobs start moving to a new 719,000-square-foot facility off Telegraph Road, and their defense contractors follow.

City pares courthouse proposals down to three and agrees to buy riverfront land using a $200,000 grant from the Fredericksburg Economic Development Authority.

Area homebuilders and suppliers team up to build homes for wounded veterans in Stafford County.

Stafford Economic Development Authority makes a $75,000 grant to help Germanna Community College move its automotive-training program to Stafford and pledges $1 million toward permanent Stafford campus for Germanna.

Several national homebuilders including Ryan and K. Hovnanian buy dozens of lots each in the region perhaps sensing better days ahead. The Walton Group looks at buying parcel in Spotsylvania.

Joint Warfare Analysis Center at Dahlgren in King George loses 155 jobs due to federal defense cutbacks.

The University of Mary Washington Foundation plans new hotel at Eagle Village and prepares to build road connecting development to Mary Washington Hospital campus.

Walmart settles on a new site its for Orange County store that's farther from Wilderness Battlefield. Walmart also prepares to open a new store near Dahlgren in King George.

Downtown Fredericksburg sees its share of demolition--including the former apartment building at 1200 Prince Edward St., a fire-damaged home at 1407 Caroline St. and (in July) the former Fredericksburg Hardware store on William Street.

Apartment boom continues with completion of the first phase of the Haven complex in Celebrate Virginia South and construction of Cobblestone Square in downtown Fredericksburg.


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Here is a look at some local economic indicators during the second quarter. Unless otherwise noted, the data are for Fredericksburg, Caroline, King George, Stafford and Spotsylvania. We use the latest data available.

Home-building permits*

January-April 2011: 296

January-April 2010: 397

*This is for single-family detached homes and also includes Orange County.

Source: Fredericksburg Area Builders Association

Home sales

June 2011: 453

June 2010: 539

Source: Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc.

Median housing prices

June 2011: $212,000

June 2010: $220,000

Source: Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc.

Unemployment rate

May 2011: 5.8 percent

May 2010: 6.4 percent

Source: Virginia Employment Commission

New vehicle registrations

Q2 2011: 3,927

Q2 2010: 3,246

Source: Virginia Automobile Dealers Association

Local sales tax receipts

January-May 2011: $15.07 million

January-May 2010: $14.65 million

Source: Virginia Department of Taxation

This is a quarterly feature in which The Free Lance-Star Business team gives a snapshot of area market conditions and reviews some of the important happenings over the past three months that have affected the area's economy. Look for it a few weeks after the end of each quarter, and let us know if there are additional things you'd like to see here.

THE HAVEN: FIRST PHASE IS COMPLETED

CVS: some 100 laid off at local center

BOOKSTORES: TWO CLOSED IN QUARTER

YMCA: CAROLINE FACILITY IN THE WORKS