A rural community west of Short Pump could be getting its first taste of its denser-development neighbor.
A group of Virginia businessmen is looking to put 250 or more residential units and 80,000 square feet of commercial development in the heart of Centerville, in eastern Goochland County, via a mixed-use project on 37 acres near the intersection of Manakin and Broad Street roads.
Developer Scott Gaeser, principal broker of Henrico-based Precision Realty, is leading the proposal with backing from a group of investors that includes Tony Markel, vice chairman of local insurance giant Markel Corp.; Wayne Sawyer, whose family built Richmond International Raceway; local investment firm James River Capital Corp.; and Boyd Tinsley of Dave Matthews Band fame.
The group, operating as Towne & Country Partners LLC, looks to rezone the land northeast of the intersection to accommodate the project, tentatively called “Manakintowne.”
Gaeser said the residential portion of the project would cater to older adults, with about 200 single-level apartments with elevator access and garages, and 50 to 70 multistory townhomes with elevator options. The units would be split among eight three-story buildings, and if apartments aren’t allowed, Gaeser said they’d do condos instead of rentals.
“We’re trying to bring about 250 people to Centerville, because the demand for all-one-level living is increasing, and we want to put people in Centerville to attract really good retailers,” Gaeser said. “We’re thinking that by doing this, we’ll be able to attract some good commercial restaurants and so on.”
The 1½-level townhomes would range in size from 1,800 to 2,500 square feet, while the single-level apartments or condos would be range from 890-square-foot one-bedroom units to 1,200-square-foot two-bedroom units.
Rental rates and prices have yet to be determined, as Gaeser said the types of units will depend on what’s allowed by Goochland County. The group has held two community meetings as required by the county before a request can be heard by the planning commission. Gaeser said they are waiting for their request to be scheduled for an upcoming meeting.
Gaeser said attendees at the community meetings have been initially resistant to the apartments concept, though he said opinions varied when it was known the development would be along Broad Street Road. The 37 acres straddle parts of the adjacent Sycamore Creek Golf Course, which Gaeser said has been in negotiations with the group.
“You’re dealing with Goochland County, where most everybody lives in a rural area,” Gaeser said. “My argument has been we’re not trying to develop down in a rural area near horses; this is Broad Street, a mile and a half from Short Pump, with big roads and utilities. That’s where development belongs in Goochland.
“What we’re trying to accomplish is to bring some one-level living and apartments/townhomes to the village of Centerville and to create some vibrancy in Centerville.”
Towne & Country Partners acquired the land in 2001, according to county property records. The records do not list a sale price. The previous owners were Lawrence and Anne Nuckols.
Gaeser estimates the cost of the project at about $68 million – $28 million for the apartments, $20 million for the remaining residential development, and $20 million for the commercial – part office, part retail space.
The group is working with Midlothian-based Poole & Poole Architecture, Brian Mitchell of Townes Site Engineering, and Dave Gerstenmaier of Richmond-based HG, a civil engineering and landscape architecture firm.
It’s lined up Alabama-based Arlington Properties to build the apartments. Locally based Eagle Construction of Virginia would build the townhomes, and Towne & Country Partners would oversee construction of the commercial space.
Precision Realty, which is part of the Markel-backed Eagle Companies along with Eagle Construction of Virginia, would market the development.
The project adds to a push of residential development into eastern Goochland County. Farther south, HHHunt is planning a 520-home age-restricted community on just over 200 acres near the Capital One campus.
Note: This story has been revised to correct the square-footage numbers for the proposed townhomes.