Farm-centric development marks first home sales with barn raising

When completed, the barn will overlook the working farm at the heart of the community. (Courtesy of the Crescent Group)

Three years after it first planted seeds for the project, a local homebuilder behind the area’s first so-called “agri-community” is beginning to see the fruits of its labor.

Cornerstone Homes marked the first sales of its farm-centric, 55-and-up Chickahominy Falls community in Hanover County with a Founder’s Day drawing held in July, when 21 home sites were sold to buyers.

By the end of August another 11 were sold, bringing the total to 32. The sales are expected to close in early 2019.

Chickahominy Falls has a small working farm and garden that is a centerpiece of the development.  (The Crescent Group)

The development, which pairs farming with the amenities of a suburban community, is the product of a collaboration between Cornerstone and StyleCraft Homes, which signed on as a builder late last year.

The 180-acre, 400-home development along Holly Hills Road is targeted to homebuyers 55 or older. Home prices start in the mid-$300,000s and range to the high-400s.

Residences are divided into two sections: Woodside Meadow, which contains single-level detached carriage homes, and The Orchard, which contains cottage-style homes configured around shared courtyards.

“These are just two neighborhoods that we are selling and building first,” said Mitchell Bode, vice president of The Crescent Group, which serves as the land acquisition and development branch of Cornerstone. “We have new neighborhoods and product types as we move through the full project of 400 homes.”

The company also held a recent barn-raising event for what will be the first significant amenity at Chickahominy Falls.

When it’s completed, the barn will overlook the working farm at the heart of the community. The farm’s first crops have included kale, wild flowers, spinach, collards, daisies and squash – the latter of which recently was delivered to locally based Shalom Farms.

Bode said Agriburbia has designed the farm and has built everything to this point.

“The farm will remain a professionally managed working farm, but we will look for ways to integrate our residents at every available opportunity,” Bode said. “In addition, we do have six permaculture lots adjacent to the farm that the owners of will be able to grow their own produce.”

The farm’s first crops have included kale, wild flowers, spinach, collards, daisies and squash. (The Crescent Group)

Agriburbia, a Colorado-based firm that’s consulting on the project, designed and developed high-tech drip irrigation systems and a hoop house for seed germination. The barn is being constructed by Geo-barns of Vermont and, once completed, will serve as a working barn and a social center for the community, complete with a kitchen and entertainment area.

Bode described Chickahominy Falls as a project befitting Hanover County.

“Hanover County prides itself on being a rural community that has always supported its farmers,” Bode said. “The joining of a professionally managed farm and an amenity-rich active adult community seemed to be a perfect fit when looking for ways to build a community that would not only stand out but be Richmond’s first agri-community.”

Cornerstone and StyleCraft have both kept busy building homes for the 55-and-up demographic. StyleCraft has been starting and finishing several 55-plus projects in Chesterfield County, while Cornerstone’s projects south of the river include its age-restricted Villas at Ashlake and Villas at Magnolia Lakes.

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