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February 25, 2015

Va. Town Suspends Tax Sale of Would-Be Slavery Museum Site

Fredericksburg, Va., officials have indefinitely put off a planned tax sale of land where the long-delayed United States National Slavery Museum was to have been built, writes the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star. The decision followed a court-ordered settlement conference involving the museum, an architectural firm that says it is owed millions of dollars for design work on the project, and the amateur-sports company Diamond Nation, which had planned to buy the parcel.

Details of the talks were not disclosed, but the tax sale—most recently scheduled for last Friday but postponed two days earlier—is off the table, according to a tax-consulting firm representing Fredericksburg in the matter. The city received court approval to sell the 38-acre property in September 2013 to recover unpaid taxes from the museum, which was proposed more than 20 years ago but never built.

An attorney for the design firm, Pei Partnership Architects, said last week that the sale was stopped because Diamond Nation agreed to pay part of the museum's tax debt, which now tops $650,000. Earlier, the debt was to have been covered by the museum's sale of the land in October 2013 to the sports firm for a stadium and baseball complex, but that deal fell through.