A much-debated mixed-use development in Midlothian first proposed in 2015 has secured the approval it needed to become reality.
Following months of proposals, revisions and negotiations with county staff and the community, the long-delayed Winterfield Crossing now moves ahead as Chesterfield County supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to approve locally based Blackwood Development’s request to rezone the project’s 25-acre site along Midlothian Turnpike west of Winterfield Road.
That clears the way for the development’s mix of 250 age-restricted apartments and 100,000 square feet of commercial space designed to be pedestrian-friendly with a village-style layout.
The latest iteration of the project was given a thumbs-down in January by the county planning commission, which said it failed to address traffic impact concerns or integrate its mix of uses into a village-style design. Following multiple deferrals, the most recent last month, the project was further revised in response to those concerns, which supervisors said had been met to their satisfaction.
“I have to say thank you to all of those people who came together,” Midlothian District Supervisor Leslie Haley said before motioning for approval. “I’m proud to support this development.”
“Thank you for not giving up on this case, because there have been a lot of changes and iterations,” said Andrew Condlin, an attorney with Roth Jackson who represented Blackwood in the case.
Among the most recent changes were the redesign of a roundabout at the entrance off the turnpike, decreased buffers along the turnpike to bring buildings closer to it and increase their visibility, and the removal of apartments previously proposed above retail in some of the buildings.
Commercial tenant spaces would be restricted in size, and any fast-food restaurants that locate in the development would have to be located in shared buildings and would not be allowed standalone structures.
A grocery anchor is proposed – renderings have shown an Aldi – and the 250 apartments, restricted to ages 55 and up, would be built farthest from the turnpike, on the northern side of the property along a bordering railway.
Condlin and county planning staff mentioned planned amenities including a brewery, promenade and gathering spaces. Condlin said a three-story office building in the center of the development would provide co-working space.
Condlin said the project is estimated to cost $40 million. Ashland-based Perretz & Young is the architect, and the designs were drawn up by Midlothian firm Timmons Kelley Architects.
Other local firms on the job include Higgins & Gerstenmaier, which provided signage planning, Timmons Group, which provided conceptual site design, and AES Consulting Engineers, which is providing civil site design and land planning support.
Blackwood purchased the site in 2012 for $2 million. The land is part of a 58-acre area once slated for a mixed-use project called Midlothian Town Center, which fell into foreclosure in the wake of the recession. Pieces of that land were picked up by Blackwood and fellow Midlothian-based developer Rebkee Co., which is developing the nearby Winterfield Park across the railroad tracks.
Developer Guy Blundon, who spoke in favor of the project during a public hearing, is planning a nearly 250-unit apartment complex on 8 acres next to the site. Work on those buildings is set to start later this summer.
Winterfield Crossing still needs site plan approval before construction could begin, but the rezoning clears the path for the project to go forward.
Amy Satterfield, president of the Midlothian Village Volunteer Coalition, which worked with Blackwood and the county on the revisions, said the citizens group supports the development.
“We now agree that this development honors the existing zoning and supports Midlothian Village as a whole,” she said.