An indoor sports facility that will add a Southside location for a local volleyball club is the latest spike to be served up at the former Cloverleaf Mall site in Chesterfield County.
County officials announced Thursday that Chesterfield’s economic development authority will fund the construction of a $7 million, 50,000-square-foot building at Stonebridge, the massive mixed-use development on a former mall site at Midlothian Turnpike and Chippenham Parkway.
The building will be leased to the Richmond Volleyball Club, which will expand across the river from Henrico County, where it operates out of two locations: a facility on Westmoreland Street, and its headquarters in the former Brown Distributing facility at 2921 Byrdhill Road. RVC purchased that 73,500-square-foot building in 2009 for $2.4 million.
The Stonebridge sports facility also will house programs for the Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation Department, which will lease 5,000 square feet in the building. Programs primarily will serve the county’s senior population, with some youth programs and other services, officials said.
Garrett Hart, director of Chesterfield Economic Development, said the arrangement with RVC came about as the club searched for additional space in the Southside area. He said the building, at 200 Karl Linn Drive, would be completed by December, to allow RVC to start play next January.
Local firm Baskervill is the architect on the project. Timmons Group is the site engineer. Hart said negotiations are underway with a general contractor.
Hart said the club, which boasts more than 2,600 members, would have a spillover effect for Stonebridge, where players could grab food at restaurants and shop at stores. The development, which includes the 600-unit Element at Stonebridge apartments, is anchored by a Kroger Marketplace grocery store and is home to Panda Express and Qdoba restaurants, as well as retailers such as Mattress Firm, Wine Box and Sports Zone Elite.
The sports facility introduces a new use for Stonebridge, which is moving away from original plans for big box retailers and toward other potential uses, said Rob Seidel, a principal with McLean-based S2 Capital Partners. The company purchased the retail portion of Stonebridge – the 8-acre, 52,000-square-foot Stonebridge Marketplace Shopping Center – in November for $12 million from original developer Crosland Southeast.
Seidel said a planned second phase for Stonebridge, west of the shopping center and north of the sports facility, originally was envisioned for more than 100,000 square feet of primarily big box retail users. But those plans have changed, he said.
“The big box retail isn’t doing so well these days. There’s not as much demand for it as there was five to 10 years ago,” he said. “So we’re looking at alternative uses for the land that make sense in the marketplace.”
Seidel said those uses could include a hotel, specialty office and potentially a residential component, as well as additional retail.
“There are active discussions going on and a great deal of interest from us and our partners to manifest a second phase there,” Seidel said.
While that phase remains to be started, Seidel said S2 Capital, the acquisitions affiliate of Stewart Commercial Realty Services, has immediate plans to construct two buildings totaling 15,600 square feet on pad sites within the existing development. He said plans are being submitted to the county for review.
The two buildings – one 7,200 square feet, the other 8,400 square feet – would fill out the strip that fronts the 123,600-square-foot Kroger Marketplace, which the grocery company owns.
The buildings are being designed by McMillan Pazdan Smith, a Greenville, South Carolina-based firm that was the original architect for Stonebridge. Seidel said a builder has not been selected.
Construction on those buildings is slated to start this summer. Seidel said talks are underway with potential tenants, which he said would include a restaurant, ideally a sports bar or one that serves beer and wine.
“We don’t have anybody in our shopping center at this point that has a bar, so that isn’t available to the residents,” he said. “We think that is a key thing that we need to bring in.”
The additional buildings would bring the total retail component of Stonebridge to 67,410 square feet. Seidel said two units in the shopping center are vacant: a 1,150-square-foot space and a 1,350-square-foot space. Peter Vick and Harrison Hall with Divaris Real Estate handle leasing for the shopping center.
Meanwhile, construction is wrapping up on a third building for the Element at Stonebridge apartments, which Virginia Beach-based Boyd Homes is building on a 17-acre site it purchased in 2013 for $3.45 million. Construction got underway in 2014, and the company cut the ribbon on the first 400 units of the 600-unit project last April.
The apartments are grouped in three buildings and range from 560 to 1,260 square feet. Monthly rents range from just under $1,000 to $1,700.
With the addition of the sports facility, Seidel said Stonebridge is gaining momentum.
“I definitely feel an incline in the energy here, and a lot of it has to do with the EDA,” Seidel said. “They’re very aggressive on this.”
“We want to brand this as a destination area, so you’ve got retail, a hotel, residential, service, food, entertainment,” he said. “We want to bring all that and have the entire Stonebridge area become a destination.”