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County seeks program to support food businesses at Mount Vernon school

Exterior of the Original Mount Vernon High School along Route 1 (via Fairfax County)

Fairfax County is looking for proposals to create a food-centric business accelerator and entrepreneurship center at a historic school.

The Original Mount Vernon High School, once part of President George Washington’s estate, has a former locker room that the county wants to develop.

The county’s Department of Economic Initiatives started gauging interest on Feb. 24 in applicants who could lease the 12,000-square-foot, lower-level space.

“This effort will serve as an anchor tenant in the building and contribute to the enhancement and activation of the larger campus,” a request for proposals page says.

The request is part of an effort to redevelop the school building. A gym has already been renovated and opened, and other parts of the site are being used as a satellite Fire Marshal’s Office for the South County area, a Fairfax County Public Schools registration site, and a teen/senior center.

The county says future development at the site could include “a theatre, space for education and workforce development, childcare, and a separate technology-based business center.”

The 22-acre property along Route 1 is part of state and national registers of historic places. The school was built in 1939 under the federally funded Public Works Administration with additions throughout the decades.

The school originally only allowed white students and didn’t desegregate until 1965.

As part of the development, respondents must show how the changes would advance racial and social equity.

Responses must be sent by the end of the month. The project page lists contact information and other details.

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