Part of a Chesterfield County site once slated for a Chinese paper factory soon could be carved out to make way for another large-scale industrial project.
About 40 acres of the former Shandong Tranlin Paper Co. property in the James River Industrial Center off Coach Road is being targeted for a 611,500-square-foot industrial facility, according to a site plan application filed with the county’s planning department last week.
Dubbed “Project Goliath,” the proposed development is planned for the northeast quadrant of a cul-de-sac at the end of Battery Brooke Parkway, which serves as the main entrance to the 650-acre tract within the industrial center that had been eyed by Tranlin.
The project is being fast-tracked by Chesterfield County planning officials, the application indicates.
Plans filed do not name a potential user for the facility.
Karen Aylward, assistant director of the Chesterfield Economic Development Authority, would not comment about the project. Bob Gargaro, an Arizona-based real estate broker who’s listed as the project’s applicant, did not return calls for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Richmond-based Timmons Group is also listed on the application. The engineering firm completed site design work for the project.
Owned by Reynolds Real Estate Ventures LLC, the 650-acre parcel previously planned for Tranlin stretches west from Coach Road to the James River. The land was most recently assessed at $5.5 million, according to county records.
In 2014, then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that Tranlin was to construct an 800-acre, state-of-the-art paper plant on the 650-acre property and an additional 58 acres to the north of the parcel at 1300 Willis Road.
Had the venture moved forward, the $2 billion facility was set to create 2,000 jobs for the area and would have been the largest investment by a Chinese-owned company in the U.S.
But the deal, battered by several missed deadlines, never came to fruition – leaving the state on the hook for a nearly $5 million grant it gave Tranlin to purchase the 58-acre parcel on Willis Road.
Tranlin has not repaid the grant.
Earlier this year, board members of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership – the state’s business development arm – voted to foreclose on the 58-acre parcel.
The 650-acre piece was never purchased by Tranlin – leaving the site, which has public water and sewer connections, ripe for development. It also is located in one of the county’s five designated Technology Zones, which encourages manufacturing and distribution operations through a series of incentives and tax abatements.
James Center Industrial Center is home to construction and industrial services company Atlantic Constructors Inc. and display case manufacturer Hill Phoenix Inc.
Project Goliath would be built in phases – with the first phase consisting of a 437,000-square-foot building, according to a site plan submitted to the county. The next phase would involve a second 175,000-square-foot building at a later date.
The site also will be located next door to the future expansion of CSX’s freight rail line, which is expected to cross Battery Brooke Parkway in the industrial center.
Project Goliath adds to a growing hotbed of industrial activity in Chesterfield this quarter, with the suburban county netting some of the largest projects in the region.
An entity tied to soft drink giant PepsiCo has signed on to fill a new 220,000-square-foot distribution facility in the works at 1608 Willis Road by Hampton Roads-based real estate investment firm Armada Hoffler.
Chesterfield County EDA also has filed an application to rezone a 1,675-acre tract southwest of Chester as a megasite, called the Matoaca Mega Site, to accommodate a large industrial user.