End in sight for county’s apartment drought

A rendering of the planned Charleston Ridge apartments.

A rendering of the planned Charleston Ridge apartments.

One of the first apartment developments in Hanover County in almost 10 years is in the works.

Developer Larry Shaia of Charter Realty & Development is planning 172 apartments in five four-story buildings called Charleston Ridge.

The development is on the 21-acre site of a stalled 112-unit condo project near the intersection of Sliding Hill and Atlee Station roads.

A rezoning request for the project will go to the Hanover County board of supervisors for approval on May 22.

“It will take about 15 months get all the plans approved, so we would hope to start construction by the end of next summer and [take] another 18 months to build it,” Shaia said.

The designs for Charleston Ridge are being done by Richmond firm Winks Snowa Architects, which also designed Shaia’s Charter Creek apartments in Mechanicsville, he said. Townes Site Engineering is the engineer.

Shaia wouldn’t say how much the project is expected to cost.

The apartments will be marketed broadly, Shaia said, but he said he expects a lot of demand from seniors and those with limited mobility.

“We’ve had a lot of demand for first-floor units at Charter Creek,” he said. “We’ll have an elevator in each of the buildings so every unit is like a first-floor unit.”

According to Hanover County records, there hasn’t been a new apartment development in the locality since at least 2005, not counting the age-restricted apartments that are part senior-living facility Covenant Woods.

That’s something that needs to change, said Hanover planning commission member Harold Padgett.

“Economic development tells us that they have trouble attracting businesses to the county without enough temporary housing,” he said. “And we need to attract more businesses to balance out the tax base. We’re facing the same budgetary pressures as everyone else.”

The land is owned by Kings Acres Partners, the would-be condo developers. Charter Realty is under contract to purchase the property from the company, said Todd Rogers, one of the partners in the original development entity for Kings Acres. The property was most recently assessed at $1.4 million, according to county records.

Rogers said two things have limited apartment development in Hanover: The county only has a few locations that allow for apartment development under its comprehensive plan, and its proffer system.

“To develop an apartment might cost $70 per square foot,” Rogers said. “If you are paying $15,000 to $20,000 per apartment in proffers on a 1,000-square-foot unit, that will add $15 to $20 per square foot, and the development becomes economically unfeasible.”

Rogers said that Hanover’s decision this year to lower cash proffers could attract more apartment development in the county.

The county will see a cash influx right off the bat since Charter Realty has agreed to pay $3,054 per apartment in cash proffers for road improvements. That equates to approximately $525,000.

Part of those costs will be offset by money the developers will spend on improvements to Atlee Station and Kings Acres roads. Shaia agreed to do the work as part of the road proffers and zoning negotiations, he said. Any money left over after the work goes to the county.

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William T. Didlake

I am not sure appartments is good for the county but it is better than a trailer park.

The reductiont of the proffers was not a good decision.

The long term cost to maintain roads, etc, needs to be considered.

The appartments will reduce the residential values of joining property owners and may attract the wrong type of individuals.

Appartments appear to go down hill after a few years.

I do not see the demand for professional jobs in the area.