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Retired tobacco exec buys former Cochrane homestead

Jonathan Spiers November 7, 2016 0

Walnut Hill is a country manor house and estate at 12428 Walnut Hill Drive in southwestern Hanover County. (Courtesy CVRMLS)

Walnut Hill is a country manor house and estate at 12428 Walnut Hill Drive in southwestern Hanover County. (Courtesy CVRMLS)

A 40-acre Rockville estate that once was home to the late Harwood and Louise Cochrane has sold for just under $1.5 million.

Walnut Hill, a country manor house and estate at 12428 Walnut Hill Drive in southwestern Hanover County, sold Nov. 3 for $1.49 million, just below its latest asking price of $1.59 million.

The property was originally listed in September 2015 at $1.69 million. The price was reduced by $100,000 in March, and the property was listed as pending in September.

The buyer is James H. Starkey III, retired vice president of Richmond-based tobacco giant Universal Corp. He was represented by Marianne Donahue of Long & Foster Real Estate.

Jeff Donahue, Marianne’s husband and business partner, said they have represented Starkey for years in other deals in Richmond. He said Starkey, who lives in Richmond, had been looking for properties for several months when Walnut Hill came up on his radar.

Built in 1954, the Georgian-style manor house was fully renovated after the Burgesses purchased it in 2006. (Courtesy CVRMLS)

Built in 1954, the Georgian-style manor house was fully renovated after the Burgesses purchased it in 2006. (Courtesy CVRMLS)

“He’s a longtime client of ours,” he said. “He has properties all over the East Coast, and this one was very unique. He wanted to get back to his farm roots.”

The sellers were Richard and Diane Burgess, who purchased the property in 2006. They were represented by fellow Long & Foster agent Pam Diemer.

The property had previously been part of a 450-acre farm owned by the Cochranes, one of Richmond’s most philanthropic couples and major donors and former board members of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Harwood Cochrane found success in the trucking industry as founder of Overnite Transportation, which he sold to UPS in 1986 for $1.2 billion. He died in July at the age of 103, six months after Louise died last December.

The Cochranes had donated the farm to the VMFA, which partnered with real estate firm Midlothian Enterprises to develop the land as a residential community.

Built in 1954, the 6,500-square-foot Georgian-style manor house was fully renovated after the Burgesses purchased it in 2006. The two-story brick house includes five bedrooms, 6½ bathrooms and a columned portico on the front. The 40-acre property is northwest of Short Pump and located beside the South Anna River.

“It’s a significant property, with of course the Cochranes’ legacy,” Jeff Donahue said. “They built it and lovingly cared for it, and the Burgesses had it for 10 years and just took it to another level. They did a lot of nice improvements to the home, which helped sell it.”

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