With an extension of Woolridge Road set to open up a portion of Chesterfield County that’s ripe for growth, a family of developers familiar with that area is staking a land claim along the future road’s path.
Father-and-son developers Mark and Matt Sowers recently purchased four lots totaling 130 acres along the east side of Otterdale Road just southwest of the Woolridge-Route 288 interchange.
The land is between Otterdale and the path of the long-planned Woolridge Road extension, a mile-long connector that will join the road’s existing sections from the interchange to Old Hundred Road to the south.
The Sowerses’ M&M Land Holdings LLC paid $4.5 million for the land in a deal that closed April 8. The lots were most recently assessed by the county at $2.8 million collectively.
The seller was Rivers Realty LLC, a Henrico-based entity that had picked up the lots in recent years from G.B.S. Holding Ltd.
G.B.S. was led by the late Buddy Sowers, Mark’s brother. Buddy and his son, developer Casey Sowers, had once amassed 1,300 acres in the area for their planned Roseland development, which was proposed in 2008, just ahead of the housing crisis and economic downturn.
Bankruptcies followed, and tracts were auctioned off and sold over the years.
Buyers that stepped in included Bill Goodwin’s Riverstone Properties, which picked up 600 acres through the foreclosure of Roseland Village, adding to its holdings around its massive CenterPointe development.
One of Riverstone’s parcels, at 1401 Otterdale Road, separates the paired-up lots that the Sowerses purchased. The addresses of their four parcels are 1251, 1301, 1501 and 1503 Otterdale.
It’s not clear what the Sowerses have in mind for the Otterdale land. Reached Friday by email, Mark described the purchase as an investment.
Mark’s developments over four decades include Hallsley, a 650-acre community he developed with Buddy before selling it to East West Communities (Buddy died in 2014), and the 1,200-acre Harpers Mill development, at the southern end of Otterdale Road south of Hull Street Road. Matt’s projects include the 22-acre Forest Ridge neighborhood near Powhite Parkway and Courthouse Road.
Their parcels are adjacent to a 314-acre Riverstone tract that’s likewise in the path of the Woolridge extension, which has been in the works for years and was planned to be part of the Roseland development. County planners are leaning toward a 1.18-mile route that could cost between $31 million and $47 million, depending on whether a two- or four-lane road is built.
The second of two design public hearings was held in January, and right-of-way acquisition is anticipated to start this summer and continue into spring 2022. Construction is tentatively scheduled to start in 2023, with completion targeted in 2025.
The Sowers family has already been involved in the extension of Woolridge in recent years.
Another brother, Doug Sowers, along with his son Danny, included a ¾-mile extension of Woolridge between Old Hundred Road and Watermill Parkway as part of their RounTrey development. The $3 million extension included a pedestrian tunnel underneath the road, which connects Old Hundred and Watermill just west of the terminus of Powhite Parkway.