$290M Courthouse Landing project OK’d in Chesterfield

A conceptual rendering of Courthouse Landing from a project flyer.

Six months after receiving an initial thumbs down from the county, a reworked version of a hotel-anchored development that would bring hundreds of new homes and other uses to central Chesterfield has secured the approval of county supervisors.

The board on Wednesday voted 4-1 to approve a zoning change for Courthouse Landing, a now-$290 million development planned for 122 acres southeast of the Route 288-Iron Bridge Road interchange, on undeveloped land between the interstate and Courthouse Road east of Iron Bridge.

The project, a joint venture between Florida-based Dunphy Properties and Atlanta-based Shuler Properties, is planned to consist of a 120-room hotel, 265,000 square feet of retail space, 100,000 square feet of office and medical office, 115,000 square feet of self-storage space, and 600 multifamily units, split between 300 apartments, and 300 townhomes and condos.

Courthouse Landing will include 265,000 square feet of retail space. (Courtesy Cuhaci & Peterson)

The project would fill the partly-county-owned site that has been marketed for development off and on for years. Infrastructure improvements proffered by the developers have raised the estimated project cost to $290 million, up from their initial estimate of $265 million. (Previous articles reported a lower estimate that was incorrect.)

Wednesday’s vote was a stark contrast to six months earlier, when the Planning Commission unanimously recommended denial. Stopping short of voting the project down, supervisors in January instead sent the case back to the commission, giving the developers time to address concerns about traffic and school impacts, and the site’s proximity to nearby Chesterfield County Airport.

The case was supposed to come back to the commission in March, but that meeting was cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. A deferral the following month delayed the case further, and the commission finally voted in support of the project in May, reflecting changes to the project that had been made in the time since.

Reworked plan

An earlier site plan of Courthouse Landing. The project has since been revised, with retention ponds removed. (Submitted file)

Modifications include the removal of retention ponds and limits on water detention facilities to prevent waterfowl from congregating within the airport’s flight path. Building heights are restricted to 60 feet, and the project calls for a phased development to balance out residential and commercial construction.

Other changes include the addition of a sound-suppression system for residential properties, and traffic improvements, including additional turn lanes at the intersection of Iron Bridge and Courthouse roads.

In all, the developers have committed to about $14 million in upfront infrastructure improvements, including more than $10 million in traffic enhancements and about $4 million in underground stormwater facilities and utilities. Those improvements would be required before construction could start – a commitment that developer Jim Dunphy said they were willing to make to move the project forward.

“We think we’ve done a really good job bringing an A-quality product to the table that’s going to change the face of Chesterfield for the good,” Dunphy said ahead of Wednesday’s meeting. “We just really believe in the project and what we can make happen there. A lot of that is betting on the future, but we’re confident in the product and we’re confident in our ability to deliver.”

The developers had previously reduced the project’s density in response to the traffic concerns and to accommodate requested improvements, with 50 fewer residential units, 30 fewer hotel rooms, 30,000 less office square footage and 85,000 less retail square footage than their initial proposal last fall.

In addition to Dunphy and Shuler, the development team includes Atlanta-based investment group Batson-Cook Development Co., and commercial real estate brokerage NAI Dominion. Shuler’s retail developments in Virginia have included the Bed Bath & Beyond-anchored Towne Crossing shopping center at Courthouse Road and Midlothian Turnpike.

Five-year project

The group is under contract to purchase the site, which consists of multiple parcels owned either by the county or WSWL Properties LLC. Dunphy said they anticipate closing on the site about this time next year, with a negotiated price of $2.4 million for the county-owned land. The latest county assessment valued the LLC-owned parcel, totaling nearly 65 acres, at $2.33 million.

Dunphy said construction would begin after closing, and once all the infrastructure improvements are completed. Construction would start with the 300 apartments, to be built by Indianapolis-based Edward Rose & Sons.

The condo units.

Reston-based Stanley Martin Homes is signed on to build the townhomes and “two-over-two”-style condos, which Dunphy said cannot be built until his team first delivers 40,000 square feet of commercial space. He said total buildout for Courthouse Landing likely would take about five years.

Dunphy said they have commitments for a hotel operator and multiple retail tenants. He declined to name them. He said they’re working to get commitments on the medical office and self-storage spaces.

“We’ve had some pretty good response from the commercial world, both retail and some office,” Dunphy said. “There are some other components that we need commitments on, and those are the ones that we’re betting on. We’ve had great conversations, but we’re not at a point where we have commitments yet.”

The developers worked locally with Roth Jackson attorney Andy Condlin and NAI Dominion’s Jeff Doxey.

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
3 months ago

The Route 10 corridor from the Chippenham to I-95 is the next big development corridor in the Richmond suburbs. As WaterMark nears completion, “Austin Woods” is cutting in roads for 300 apartments and 200 townhouses, plus MOB, north of Rte 288. The new Beulah Elenentary is already over capacity as residential growth exceeded County expectations. More commercial services are needed.

This project gives the corridor a tremendous boost. Edward Rose is a wonderful apartment operator.

Denis Etonach
Denis Etonach
3 months ago

Sigh. More suburban sprawl masquerading as mixed use. Could have been so much better and set the tone for future development by truly integrating commercial, office and residential, using a grid system, etc.

Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
3 months ago
Reply to  Denis Etonach

Apparently four people agree with you. Ive been studying this property for 20 years. It appears landlocked by Routes 288 and 10 on two sides, and by a large building and wetlands to the east. Theres only one street that offers multiple access points and south of that street there is the huge courthouse center which offers no existing grid to which to connect. The site is cut in two by an uncrossable unburiable wetland swath. When cities were built in grids, those wetlands could be eliminated, but now we have the EPA and DEQ. Suburban development today has to… Read more »

Denis Etonach
Denis Etonach
2 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

I apologize for my flippancy and the harshness of my tone. I understand that this is a challenging piece of property and I certainly would not be in favor of forgoing environmental protections. I do believe greater integration of residential, office and retail creates walkable places that stand the test of time.