One of the largest tracts of residential real estate along western Henrico’s River Road corridor hit the market over the weekend, in what is by far – at just under eight figures – the priciest suburban home listing in the area in recent memory.
The 261-acre Glen Roy estate at 8899 River Road was put up for sale Friday with an asking price of $9.98 million. Joyner Fine Properties’ Richard Bower has the listing, which has a no-show provision through Sept. 1.
Overlooking the James River just west of Chippenham Parkway, the nearly century-old estate has been owned only twice – the past 74 years by the family of T. Fleetwood Garner, an aviation executive and World War II vet who operated flight schools up and down the East Coast. It originally was owned by H. Watt Ellerson, a president of Albemarle Paper Co., now Ethyl Corp.
The hillside estate includes a Georgian-style mansion, a pool with brick pool house, tennis courts, and an airplane hangar – reflecting Garner’s ownership until his death in 2008, around the time of the economic downturn. Garner’s two sons inherited the property, which was put in an LLC in 2011, property records show.
Garner’s eldest son, Thomas F. Garner Jr., has been residing at the home with his wife, Carolyn, acting as stewards and fixing up the property while waiting for the real estate market to recover. Now in their 70s and ready to sell, Garner said they’ve been putting out feelers in recent years to gauge local interest, response from which prompted them to go forward with a listing.
“We have informally reached out to people in the Richmond area, to some of the more prominent families, to see if they were interested,” Garner said. “We decided that the people we reached out to were not interested, and we decided to list it and cast the net a little wider to see if somebody from another area might be interested.
“We saw it as more of a stewardship, our children are not interested in living here, so it was the end of the line for the Garner family here,” he said. “We want to pass it on to somebody who’s maybe young and has the energy and maybe wants to make some further modifications.”
Spanning 11,300 square feet, the two-story colonial totals 24 rooms with eight bedrooms, seven bathrooms and two half-baths. Built in 1928, the house was designed by noted architect W. Duncan Lee, with grounds and gardens designed by Charles Gillette.
Secluded within about 100 acres of woodlands, the house is accessed by a half-mile-long paved driveway and overlooks about 160 acres of lowlands with half a mile of river frontage, trails, and a boat dock and ramp.
The property includes a recently renovated pool and brick pool house, a caretaker’s cottage, a smokehouse, and the airplane hangar that includes offices and stables. The 5,600-square-foot hangar once connected to an airstrip that Garner’s father used to commute to his flight schools.
The hangar most recently housed two planes – a Cessna 210 Centurion and a 1944 Piper Cub – that Garner since has sold to out-of-town buyers. Garner said the airstrip was closed in 1979 to make way for a section of the neighboring Mooreland Farms subdivision.
Not for development
While he acknowledged that Glen Roy’s acreage has attracted interest from developers, Garner, whose own career in commercial development has included The Millworks in Midlothian, said he does not want the property to be developed as a residential subdivision.
He said the property lends itself to four or five multi-acre lots that could be used as a family compound, but he said more intense development would not be ideal for the site, which is wedged between established residential neighborhoods.
“It is just not appropriate to have smaller R-1 lots in there,” he said, citing traffic concerns along River Road and considerations for neighbors. “The acreage equates to privacy, and that’s just a wonderful feeling.
“It’s a very rare place. Often, we think of it as like living in a resort, especially with the nice pool,” he said. “It’s also extremely expensive, and we’re older, we want to spend more time with our grandchildren and travel.”
No stranger to multimillion-dollar listings, Bower said he’s confident Glen Roy will sell at the price point he set, citing the property’s tax assessment and continuous ownership as factoring into the price. He said the total assessment for the property, which consists of multiple parcels, is over $8 million. (An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported a lower assessment amount, based on a calculation of property records that did not include all of the parcels involved.)
“I think there’s a market for something that’s this unique,” said Bower, whose other active listings include the $4 million Clear View mansion at 5901 River Road. “This is a one of a kind. I’ve never seen a property like this in the Richmond area ever on the market.
“This is something that’s going to really appeal to someone that wants privacy. It’s got absolutely everything,” he said. “I feel very comfortable with the price that we are asking for the property. The value’s there, and I’m pretty sure the market’s going to support it.”
Bower said he’s reaching out to local buyers who have asked to be alerted to unique properties, though he expects Glen Roy will end up selling to an out-of-town buyer relocating to Richmond.
“I’ve got a short list of folks that I plan to offer the property to right away. This is one, though, that I think will have appeal far outside the Richmond market,” he said.
At nearly $10 million, the listing is more than double the nearest asking price for a residential listing. The 7-acre Fairfield mansion at 211 Ross Road is listed at $4.39 million, reduced from its initial list price last year of $6 million.
Prior to Fairfield hitting the market, the most expensive listing in metro Richmond for years had been River Run Manor, the former Massey family mansion in Goochland County that Bower listed in 2014 at $7.9 million. The house price was reduced over the years and changed brokerages before going under contract earlier this year. It’s now being eyed for a potential wedding venue and vineyard.
Other residential properties that are more agriculture-based have sold in the eight-figure range. The 4,300-acre Curles Neck Plantation in eastern Henrico sold in 2006 for $21.58 million. Nearby, the 477-acre Chatsworth property is on the market for $22 million, down from its 2015 listing at $23.8 million.