Developer pushes 50-acre project in Chesterfield

A well-known name in Chesterfield development is seeking approval for his next project.

Mark Sowers, the developer behind the Harpers Mill community and half of the brother team that created Hallsley, is planning his next residential community farther to the north: a 50-acre subdivision on the west side of Huguenot Springs Road, just north of the Windy Hill Sports complex in Midlothian.

Sowers has filed a request with the county to rezone five parcels and part of a sixth totaling 48.7 acres to accommodate the development, which he described as a “high-end subdivision.”

He said the development would consist of 30 to 40 home sites on 1-acre lots – less common in that part of the county, he said. The zoning would allow for up to 48 sites.

Read the staff report (PDF)

Read the staff report (PDF)

Houses would be priced starting in the $450,000 to $550,000 range. Sowers said houses would be upwards of 3,000 square feet.

“We typically sell the lots to builders; I don’t have any sold yet,” Sowers said. “I have some builders – different ones – that are interested. Familiar names.”

Sowers would not say how much he is budgeting for the project or how it would be financed. According to county records, he purchased the five parcels for more than $700,000 from three different owners between 2001 and 2004.

Those records list the parcels’ owner as either Sowers or his JMS Investments LLC. The sixth parcel, which totals about 38 acres, is owned by OuterBanks Ltd. Partnership.

Should Sowers receive approval, he said development could start in about a year. But county staff is recommending denial of the request, which was scheduled to go before the planning commission today.

In a report, planning staff said the proposal does not comply with the county’s comprehensive plan, which calls for corporate office, research and development, and light industrial uses for the property. A requested exception to the county’s utility ordinance for a required connection to public sewer is also recommended for denial.

The Sowers family name comes with a considerable track record among Richmond developers. Mark Sowers and his late brother Buddy developed Hallsley before selling the development to East West Communities in 2013.

Another brother, David Sowers, purchased 456 acres in Powhatan County in 2014. A fourth brother, Doug Sowers, has had a hand in such communities as Collington, Newmarket and RounTrey, the latter with his son and third-generation developer Danny Sowers. And Buddy’s son Casey is in the business, too, continuing work on bringing Roseland to fruition.

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Bruce Milam
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Bruce Milam

There’s enough office And industrial zoned acreage in that part of the county to accommodate more than 100 years of traditional style employment growth while the demand for such office space has dwindled dramatically. The county uses its comp plan as a barrier to the market. Expensive houses like these more than mitigate their costs to the system in real estate and other taxes that are generated.

George Smith
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George Smith

Where are all the children going to go to school?
The schools assigned ~ Watkins, Midlo middle and Midlo High are already OVERCROWDED.
This will make the problem WORSE just like Hallsley and the rest of the development being pursued by this family.
make the developer BUY the schools with all their millions(profit) instead of the taxpayers.