The Department of Veterans Affairs has signed a lease with a Vakos Cos. affiliate for a community-based outpatient clinic that will be in the Southpoint I commercial development in Massaponax.

The lease with HTP Realty LLC is for approximately 20,000 square feet in Vakos’s former headquarters at 4830 Southpoint Drive in Spotsylvania County. The renovation work is expected to be completed in time for the outpatient clinic to open in spring 2021.

The clinic is expected to serve as many as 10,000 veterans annually and employ as many as 75 people, according to the Veterans Administration.

Vakos Cos. is a veteran-owned small business headquartered in Spotsyvania. Bill Vakos Jr., the company’s CEO and chairman of its board, received a Silver Star for his actions as a first lieutenant during the Vietnam War.

“Doing a project for the Veterans Administration obviously means a lot for us,” said Chris Waller, senior vice president for leasing for the Vakos Cos. “We take pride in all our projects, but this is a little something special for us.”

He said that he heard the VA wanted to build another community-based outpatient clinic in the area around the same time it advertised seeking “expressions of interest” for a much larger outpatient clinic space in an area stretching from Stafford County to Spotsylvania. That clinic site, which has not been determined, is one of 28 leased projects that Congress authorized funding for in fiscal 2017.

“This clinic was almost under the radar,” Waller said of the smaller clinic Vakos will create. “I got focused on this. In talking with people from the VA, it was an imminent possibility, while the big one tends to linger out there.”

Sen. Mark Warner has been frustrated by what he calls “the glacial pace” of the larger proposed veterans’ health care project, and recently sent a letter to the heads of the Department of Veterans Affairs and General Service Administration demanding an expedited timeline for the larger clinic and one in South Hampton Roads. He announced this week that the Office of Management and Budget had approved the lease prospectus for the South Hampton Roads project last week and had just approved the one in the Fredericksburg area.

Fredericksburg and the counties of Stafford and Spotsylvania are home to nearly 40,000 veterans, according to VA statistics. The latest estimates show that Stafford has 22,468 veterans, Spotsylvania has 14,693 and Fredericksburg has 2,252.

The area is already served by two VA community-based outpatient clinics, which offer primary care services for local veterans. One is located at 130 Executive Center Parkway near Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg. The other is on the third floor at 10401 Spotsylvania Ave., which is in the Lee’s Hill area.

Waller said the new outpatient clinic will be about twice the size of the one in Spotsylvania. He said he was told it will not replace that clinic.

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Cathy Jett: 540/374-5407 cjett@freelancestar.com