By Leonard Shapiro | Fauquier Times
The sale of the Middleburg Training Track was consummated last week, with Chuck Kuhn, founder and CEO of JK Movers based in Sterling, purchasing the 150-acre property for $1.5 million from the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.
“It’s now in full revitalization mode,” Kuhn said Friday. “We had already started doing some work on the property before settlement a couple of weeks ago, and we’re going to do everything we can to restore it as a first-class facility.”
Kuhn estimated he will be spending an additional $2 million over the next year “to get it at the right level.”
“We’re going to be doing it in phases,” he said. “We’re looking at improving the entire property and making it attractive to a high-end clientele. We’re looking for full-time barn tenants involved in horse racing, but also hunters, jumpers and all the other equine disciplines that go on in this area.”
The training track was originally donated to the Thoroughbred Retirement Fund (TRF) by its owner, the late Randy Rouse, this past December. It had been on the market for $3.5 million over the last few years, with no takers.
When Rouse donated the property he had owned since 2006, TRF Chairman and CEO Lenny Hale also had hoped to get the training track facility revamped. But the Saratoga Springs-based nonprofit’s board of directors was more concerned about paying back loans that were coming due within the next year and decided to sell it.
A 52-year-old Northern Virginia native, Kuhn founded JK Moving Services more than three decades ago. It’s now the largest independent moving company in North America. He and his family live at the 540-acre Egypt Farm in western Loudoun County. Kuhn said his 22-year-old son, Steve, will manage the training track and is now working on site.
The facility now has 220 stalls, with room for an additional 120 stalls on the property. There are 11 barns, and all will be renovated, with work already starting on that project.
Kuhn said Phase 1 over the next 90 days will also include getting the grounds groomed and regraded, fencing being replaced and re-painted and renovating the actual training track itself. Phase 2 will begin in July and continue the renovations of all the barns. Phase 3 will involve major electric work throughout the facility and continuing the barn and grounds work, with the entire project expected to take about a year.
Kuhn also indicated he is discussing a possible public-private initiative with Loudoun County officials and also is working with the Warrenton-based Virginia Equine Alliance which he said “has been extremely helpful in working to revitalize the track with equipment and personnel.”
The entire property also will be placed in easement and, Kuhn added, “I think the community is excited to see that. The equine industry is a multi-million dollar industry in the county, and with a new polo project in Middleburg, Salamander and Morven Park, there is very limited resources for transient boarding of horses. We can help fill that void.”
There are now six tenant trainers in good standing with about 70 horses currently at the facility, down from about 130 horses last month. Tenants who had been delinquent in past rent and their horses are no longer on the property.
The listing agents were Ted Zimmerman and Laura Farrell of Middleburg Real Estate-Atoka Properties. Kuhn was represented in the sale by Atoka Properties agent Scott Buzzelli. For information on acquiring stalls, contact Tina Buckley at 703-260-3007.