A local company has taken the next step in its plan for an eight-figure office development in the Westwood area of Henrico County.
Kinsale Capital Group closed Tuesday on the $2.5 million purchase of 5.7 acres at the intersection of Maywill and Thalboro streets, where the publicly traded company plans to construct a 150,000-square-foot, five-story office building.
The $50 million development, which also would include a four-story, 600-space parking deck, will replace Kinsale’s current home in the Holland Tower at 2221 Edward Holland Drive near Willow Lawn, where the firm employs about 177 full-time employees across 43,000 square feet.
‘We’re rapidly filling up the space that we have now,” Kinsale CEO Michael Kehoe said in an interview Wednesday. “Kinsale’s business model is different in that we operate in one office to improve our communication and reduce costs… moving forward with this development gives us the space we need to continue our growth.”
Kehoe said his company would occupy about 75,000 square feet in the new building — leaving the remaining balance of the building for lease to other office users.
The land, which went under contract last fall, was sold off from a larger 25-acre site owned by an entity tied to Ukrops’ Homestyle Foods.
Construction on the project is slated for April, with the project set for occupancy around September 2020.
Richmond-based Hourigan has been tapped as the project’s developer and general contractor. Baskervill is the architect, while Timmons Group completed the site’s civil engineering work.
Joseph Marchetti Jr., Colliers International Virginia managing director, is working as Kinsale’s real estate consultant on the future development.
More than office space
Plans for the site call for an existing 50,000-square-foot building that’s used for warehousing to be razed to make way for the development.
A yet-unnamed two-way street connecting Thalboro and Maywill streets is proposed to subdivide the parcel, where the parking deck would rise across the street from the new office complex.
Like several of the surrounding uses, the site is zoned for industrial manufacturing operations. But as the appeal of the Westwood area builds with area developers, so has the desire to bring more mixed-use development there.
Kinsale’s plan follows that trend.
A future 230- or 250-unit apartment building also is proposed on part of Kinsale’s 5.7 acres next door to the parking garage on the site, Marchetti said — adding that the site, which mainly fronts Maywill Street, would more than likely be sold to an experienced apartment development. .
The firm filed a provisional use permit (PUP) application with Henrico County in November 2018 allowing for the future apartments, a parking deck and changes to the office building height and setbacks, according to county documents.
But before the group’s PUP can be considered, the county Board of Supervisors had to approve a comprehensive plan amendment and new overlay district for the Westwood area, which it did at its Dec. 11 meeting.
The new overlay provides flexibility with existing zoning requirements. It also revises the county’s parking rules to allow for shared parking, and amends the zoning ordinance to allow residential development in areas of the corridor zoned for industrial or business use.
Kinsale’s PUP will be taken up for recommendation at the planning commission’s meeting today.
Marchetti said if the PUP is rejected, the expansion site would accommodate a 100,000-square-foot office building.
“There are options,” Marchetti said of the expansion site. “It all depends on the approval of the PUP.”
Kinsale’s project is the latest sign of development interest in the Westwood Avenue corridor — specifically the 500 acres from Westwood Avenue to Staples Mill Road – a territory dubbed by the county as “Scott’s Addition 2.0.”
“You can’t deny what is happening in this area,” said Joseph Marchetti III, president of development at Hourigan. “With the exception of Manchester, there aren’t very many places in the city where you can find large tracts such as this one.”
Kehoe agreed, adding that the firm’s year-long search for a new home took it along the West Broad Street corridor, from about east of Boulevard in Richmond to Glenside Drive in Henrico County. He added the group also viewed the former Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission building at 1000 DMV Drive in the city as a potential site.
However, Kinsale decided on its current site because of the amenities the area offers, including a future Topgolf facility, access to bus rapid transit; and entertainment options such as breweries and restaurants.
“The site sits in the middle of a triangle,” Marchetti III said. “It’s near Willow Lawn, Libbie Mill and what’s happening on Westwood … It’s ready for growth.”
Aside from the nearby entertainment options, Kehoe said the site also provides a centralized location for Kinsale’s workers. He added the new office complex will be paramount in the company’s effort to attract talent.
“The unemployment rate is low, so it’s become important to provide an edge in trying to recruit and retain employees.” Kehoe said. “Placing our offices here gives us that edge versus building a campus out in heavily wooded Goochland County. People want to be in more urban environments … and we get all of that here.”