HHHunt plans more than 2,000 homes beside Westchester Commons

A map of the 334-acre site just west of Westchester Commons. (Images courtesy of Chesterfield County)

As Westchester Commons continues its transition to more mixed-use with residential components, hundreds of acres beside the shopping center are being planned for a new development totaling more than 2,000 homes.

HHHunt Communities is seeking zoning approval for The Aire at Westchester, a mixed-use project planned for 334 acres directly west of the shopping center at Midlothian Turnpike and Route 288.

Plans call for a mix of residential units including single-family homes, townhomes and apartments and up to 200,000 square feet of commercial space to include a 70,000-square-foot grocery store and potentially an 80-room hotel.

The primarily wooded land stretches from Midlothian Turnpike to 288 between Westchester Commons and the Powhatan County line. The land consists of four parcels owned by Henrico-based GrayCo Properties.

An image shows potential uses for each of the development’s three sections.

The parcels — at 1801 and 2021 Huguenot Springs Road, and 15550 and 15900 Midlothian Turnpike — were last purchased in 2006 for $11.71 million collectively. Chesterfield County most recently assessed the total acreage at $11.46 million.

The site was rezoned that year for up to 1,600 residential units and 350,000 square feet of commercial space. HHHunt’s proposal calls for 615 more residential units but 150,000 less commercial square footage.

Plans submitted to the county describe The Aire at Westchester as a three-section development that would be integrated with Westchester Commons. The three sections would be distinct but interconnected, separated by a central park along an existing creek.

The development also would take advantage of the site’s varied topography that includes some of the highest elevations in Chesterfield.

The three sections would be divided by a central park along an existing creek.

The 108-acre section closest to Midlothian Turnpike would feature the most variety of uses, including the grocery store and hotel, offices, and assisted living and continuing care facilities.

A 99-acre section closest to Westchester Commons is envisioned as an extension of the shopping center with primarily higher-density residential uses. The section would include a retaining wall along Watkins Center Parkway with a promenade walkway with railings, lighting and landscaping.

The remaining 125-acre section would be the least dense, with primarily detached homes, townhouses, duplexes and condos.

HHHunt has agreed to recommendations from the county’s transportation department to divvy up the development’s density with 330 single-family homes, 365 townhomes, 1,070 condos and 450 apartments.

A rendering of the proposed retaining wall with a walkway.

Also proffered are a 160,000-square-foot shopping center, 4,000-square-foot drive-thru bank, 3,500-square-foot fast-food restaurant with a drive-thru, a “super convenience store” with 16 fueling stations, and an 80-room hotel.

Site access would be restricted from Huguenot Springs Road, with primary access planned off Midlothian Turnpike via two- and four-lane divided highways, among other transportation improvements.

A community meeting on the plan was held June 7, and the rezoning request is slated to go before the Planning Commission on July 20. Hirschler attorney Jeff Geiger is representing HHHunt in the case.

A call Thursday to Kim Kacani, HHHunt’s executive vice president of real estate development, was not returned.

The Aire at Westchester follows Chesterfield supervisors’ recent approval of Westchester Townes, an infill development within Westchester Commons totaling 210 townhomes from Lakeside-based StyleCraft Homes. That project continues the residential infill that started in recent years with The Vue at Westchester Commons, a 236-unit apartment complex overlooking 288.

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Ed Christina
Ed Christina
4 months ago

Well this area needs more homes!

I hope chesterfield will insist on some portion of the new units be affordable, and that they limit the amount of homes sold to hedge funds and encourage traditional home ownership.

Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
4 months ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

That’s an interesting comment. If its not within the proffers, I’m not sure what Chesterfield can do to limit or provide for either cause. Restricting investor (absentee) ownership may be something that the homebuilder chooses to do to protect value within the community. I’m happy to see that the majority of the housing is intended to be for-sale rather than rental in nature. There are an additional 5,000 units already in the apartment pipeline west of and along the I-288 corridor. This pushes urban development to Powhatan’s front door, although the results might take another ten years to be seen… Read more »

charles Frankenhoff
charles Frankenhoff
4 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

traffic is going to be hideous out there though, eventually. Ironic that the city has the least traffic in the region

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
4 months ago

When I was in Tokyo Japan a lot of the city felt kind of empty due to it having a very low car population. There were only three places were it was shoulder to shoulder people and that was maybe a block or two long. The rest of the city had a lot of room and it was not uncommon to see a 5 foot or 10 foot wide sidewalk carrying as much traffic as Route 60 or Interstate 95 in numbers of people moved.

Don O'Keefe
Don O'Keefe
4 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

“There are an additional 5,000 units already in the apartment pipeline west of and along the I-288 corridor. . . . This pushes urban development to Powhatan’s front door”

I agree with your analysis, but I find it terrifying. The metropolis has run amok.

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
4 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

https://www.fatherly.com/news/investors-single-family-home-market-rentals-wealth/

I couldn’t find one that had Richmond area stats that was not behind a paywall but here is an article that gives some stats and a fair summation of why this is a net negative.

charles Frankenhoff
charles Frankenhoff
4 months ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

I have yet to see any facts that hedge funds are buying in Richmond (and I’ve looked). Just repeated rumors. Do you have a link or a cite?

SA Chaplin
SA Chaplin
4 months ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

@Ed Christina. –

This is the beauty of the free market. Your opinion (or, more to the point, some bureaucrat’s opinion) on the number of new homes needed in a given area, is not what guides development. Just let the market decide.

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
4 months ago
Reply to  SA Chaplin

Respectfully we don’t have anything resembling a free market today, in a lot of areas of the economy.   We have concentrated multi-generational wealth that uses that power to influence the government and set rules that limit competition.   That’s why we are going to have new industries like cannabis and gambling, that should spur opportunity, be launched as monopolies.   If it was a true free market you’d be able to buy pot in as many places as you can buy alcohol and cigarettes, and if some truck stop or C-store wanted to put in a slot machine you’d… Read more »

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
4 months ago

They are going to need to include road improvements to add shoulders and a sidewalk to all of Huguenot Road. And they are going to need to replace the weight limited wooden bridge on Huguenot Road with a modern bridge Box Culvert. They also going to need to make road imrpovments to Old Hunderd Road and Route 60 and add a new sidewalk bike extension from the Village of Midlothian along US Route 60.

Rob Hargett
Rob Hargett
4 months ago

Rebkee supports the vision of HHHunt and looks forward to seeing the next phase of large scale development in this area. Hunt is the premiere developer of planned communities in our region and we are fortunate they continue to invest in the region.

Don O'Keefe
Don O'Keefe
4 months ago

To me, this is terrible news. I understand that there is a shortage of houses in the Richmond region, and HHHunt is just trying to fill demand, so I don’t ascribe bad intentions to anyone. But the rural and wilderness landscape of VA are being devoured by tract housing. Greater Richmond is a mess of sprawl. It will be a difficult ship to turn around, and the main culprits are failed zoning, bad infrastructure choices, and lack of coordination between the city and counties. American planning really is some of the worst in the world, and its sad to see… Read more »

charles Frankenhoff
charles Frankenhoff
4 months ago
Reply to  Don O'Keefe

you are completely correct. We should be doing infill and density rather than destroying greenfields

Boz Boschen
Boz Boschen
4 months ago
Reply to  Don O'Keefe

As I read the article I wondered what the planned/intended lifespan of the development is. There’s no way you can design and build something of this size and in this location and not consider what the future of transportation will be, even in a relatively short timeframe like the next 10-15 years.

David Henao
David Henao
4 months ago

Who keeps approving all these grocery stores? How many grocery chains do you need in such a short square mileage? Wegmans, Lidl, Kroger, Aldi, Publix, Target and Walmart, its comical.

From someone who has lived up north and has seen first hand the impacts of over development, this is not progress.

The homes/townhomes/apartments etc will never be affordable. Just look at the surrounding homes and townhouses and condos currently being built.

Last edited 4 months ago by David Henao
Ed Christina
Ed Christina
4 months ago
Reply to  David Henao

And still none in Manchester

Daniel Cooper
Daniel Cooper
4 months ago

My understanding is this property holds several ancient Indian burial grounds. Should be interesting.