CSX-owned land near Rocketts under contract to developer

A map of the highlighted areas that Zimmer is looking to acquire. (Maps courtesy General Land Co.)

A North Carolina-based real estate firm is preparing to stake its claim across from Rocketts Landing.

An entity tied to Zimmer Development Co. is under contract to purchase a collection of three properties totaling about 20 acres along Old Osborne Turnpike (Route 5), Orleans Street and Nicholson Street.

Commonwealth PR’s Brian Chandler, acting as local spokesman for Zimmer, confirmed the deal is pending for an undisclosed sum.

The sites are owned by Jacksonville-based CSX Transportation Inc. and most recently were assessed at a combined $530,000.

The largest of the three tracts — roughly 14 acres — is located in east Henrico County along Route 5 across from Rocketts Landing.

A 5-acre tract at 201 Orleans St. includes about 3 acres in the city and roughly 2 acres in Henrico; while the remaining 1.4-acre site sits in the city, just south of the CSX rail yard at 25 Nicholson St. near Stone Brewing Co.’s manufacturing and distribution facility.

A formal plan of development for the parcels has not been filed with the city or county planning divisions.

The three properties are currently zoned for industrial use, but both the city and Henrico have the areas master-planned for urban mixed use. They would have to be rezoned to accommodate such a redevelopment.

Based in Wilmington, Zimmer has developed hundreds of multifamily, retail and mixed-use projects in more than 140 cities across much of the South, Midwest and the mid-Atlantic during its 30-year history.

The company works with national retail and restaurant tenants such as Starbucks, Publix, Pottery Barn and Pure Barre.

Zimmer has other commercial holdings across much of Hampton Roads, Northern Virginia and the western half of the state in Pulaski and Lynchburg.

Zimmer’s purchase could help further revive the formerly industrial area.

The firm is familiar with the Richmond area, having developed four CVS Pharmacy and Rite Aid stores in the region, according to its website.

Zimmer has retained Robert Jones II of Icon Commercial and Connie Jordan Nielsen of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer to market the site.

Broker Douglas Tice III with General Land Co. is representing CSX in the sale, according to a marketing flier.

Zimmer’s purchase could add to the evolution of that stretch of the city and county, an effort led by Rocketts Landing developers WVS Cos., which has helped the area shed much of its industrial past in place of condos, apartments, retail and office space.

Once completed, Rocketts Landing will include more than 500,000 square feet of retail and office space, and bring more than 400 multifamily units to the vicinity.

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Brian Ezzelle
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Brian Ezzelle

The 13 acre section is the former location of the C&O Railroad Fulton Yard roundhouse. You can still see the foundation of the roundhouse and turntable pit in the weeds.

Chris Malo
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I hope they put some more retail there, which that part of town is lacking