American Horticultural Society Declines NOVA Parks Offer for River Farm

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American Horticultural Society board of directors votes to decline offer from NOVA Parks

AHS has listed River Farm for sale in order to further AHS’s national mission and programs and create a significant endowment to ensure its long-term financial future.

The American Horticultural Society board of directors has voted to decline a proposal submitted by NOVA Parks, the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, and their partners to purchase an option to acquire AHS’s headquarters property, River Farm, on the banks of the Potomac River.

AHS has listed the 25-acre property for sale so the proceeds could be used to further AHS’s national mission and programs and create a significant endowment to ensure its long-term financial future. “We deeply appreciate the interest of NOVA Parks in River Farm and their proposal to purchase an option on the property, which if exercised, would involve payments to AHS over several years. We deliberated carefully over the proposal and its terms and concluded that their offer as currently written simply does not meet AHS’s needs. So, with thanks to them for their interest, the board declined the offer,” noted AHS Board Chair Terry Hayes.

The American Horticultural Society has made its national headquarters at River Farm for decades, according to Vice Chair of the Board, Bob Murray, and has realized that the future of the Society lies in expanding its national impact by selling River Farm, investing the proceeds in national programs and the endowment. River Farm remains on the market. The sale is being handled by real estate agent Sue Goodhart of Compass Real Estate Group in Alexandria, VA.

Bob Brackman, Interim Executive Director, noted that the COVID pandemic has been especially hard on AHS affecting its donors and staff, dramatically reducing many valued programs that were financially important to AHS, and reinforced the urgency of putting AHS on a solid, permanent financial foundation. Brackman added, “Once River Farm is sold, AHS will determine the best location for its headquarters to serve and build our national audience.”

The AHS Board will continue to review and consider offers. Board Chair Hayes reiterated that AHS’s strong preference is that the buyer of the property would maintain it for single use and not subdivide it and ideally continue to allow the public to access the property as much as possible. The Board welcomes further dialogue with NOVA Parks to the extent they are interested in submitting a different proposal.

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Leslie Komet Ausburn
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