Note: This story has been revised with updated square footage and height details for the townhomes.
A local development firm is eyeing land behind Stony Point Shopping Center for its next project in Richmond.
Dominion Diversified Real Estate Group is seeking city approval for a 59-unit townhome development that would fill about 5 acres at 9230 Forest Hill Ave., just north of the shopping center that fronts Huguenot Road at its intersection with Stony Point and Buford roads.
The $16 million project is the latest from Dominion Diversified, which last year was embroiled in a legal dispute with Better Housing Coalition over plans to redevelop the former Quality Inn & Suites building in Scott’s Addition.
The dispute ended with a settlement earlier this year, and BHC since has entered into a contract to sell the property to Historic Housing, the Shockoe Bottom-based development firm run by Louis Salomonsky and David White.
Dominion principal Spilman Short, who said the firm since has turned its focus toward the hospitality industry with three hotel purchases in the past 18 months and another under construction in South Hill, said the Stony Point development has been years in the making.
Short said he’s been eyeing the property for three years and has had it under contract for two. The land, which a city assessment most recently valued at $704,000, is owned by Laburnum Properties, an entity tied to Bon Secours Health System.
What started as a higher-density development totaling 140 units was scaled back after hearing from neighboring property owners and residents, Short said. While part of a community plan that includes the adjacent Stony Point Medical Park, the Summerhill at Stony Point condos and retirement home, and office buildings across the street, the site also borders a residential neighborhood of lower-density, single-family detached homes.
Working with Reston-based builder Stanley Martin Homes, Short said plans previously called for the units to be built “two over two,” meaning two-level units stacked on top of one another in four-story buildings. That’s similar to the condos Stanley Martin built at Saunders Station near Short Pump and those it plans to build in two infill projects along a stretch of West Broad Street.
Two-story model planned
Instead, the 59 for-sale townhomes will be three levels, ranging in size from 1,800 to 2,100 square feet and in price from $225,000 to $350,000, Short said.
Despite the reduction in density, Short said the project is still viable for Dominion and Stanley Martin. Mechanicsville-based Youngblood, Tyler & Associates is handling engineering work.
“We really bent over backwards to try to appeal to the citizens and maintain a project that would make financial sense for us and for Stanley Martin,” Short said.
“We should make a profit at that reduced level, but less than what we would have made at a higher density. We were at the point where we’ve reduced it as much as we can,” he said.
Short noted the involvement of City Councilwoman Kristen Larson, whose Fourth Voter District includes the area. Larson said she is pleased with the resulting project.
“I thought the developer did a good job of holding community meetings, listening to the feedback and modifying their plans based on that feedback,” Larson said. “I think it blends in with the area. It’s kind of a transitional area over there.”
Short said he initially proposed the higher density in light of the property’s walkability to the shopping center, and medical and office buildings, as well as its proximity to nearby Lewis G. Larus Park.
Stanley Martin is designing the townhomes, which Short said would include high-end finishes comparable to the Saunders Station condos. Units will be clustered in 13 groups of four or five, and each unit will include front and rear yards, a one-car garage and enough driveway to park another car.
Called Stony Point Landing, the complex would include a network of sidewalks connecting with pedestrian paths leading out to Forest Hill Avenue. Amenities include a pond, playground and bench swings.
The project requires an amendment to the Stony Point Community Unit Plan, which was created in 1975 and most recently amended last December. The request is on the agenda for the city planning commission’s meeting today. Hirschler attorney Jeffrey Geiger is representing Dominion in its request.