After rezoning 1,700 acres for a new technology park near Moseley, Chesterfield officials are now expecting an eight-figure shot of state funding to prepare the site for development.
The governor’s office recently announced that Chesterfield is slated to receive a $25 million grant for site development projects at its planned Upper Magnolia Green technology park.
County officials said they plan to use the funding to design road and utilities infrastructure for the site, as well as permitting to set the stage for development. The idea is that by taking care of preliminary work along those lines, a company can come in and relatively quickly get facilities up and running.
A focus of the grant’s usage will be design work associated with a proposed extension of Powhite Parkway, considered key to the development of the technology park in the western part of the county.
“We’re going to advance the design of Powhite Parkway from Hull Street (Road) through the project property for all four lanes,” Economic Development Director Garrett Hart said in a recent interview. “We’re going to do a deep-dive, complete design of two (of those) lanes from Hull to the property.
“As we move forward, one of the first things we’d like to do is have access directly to the property from Hull Street; basically create the front door,” he said.
While the grant tees up design work for the parkway as it relates to the Upper Magnolia property, Chesterfield is already underway on design work for the extension elsewhere along the route.
“The county is already doing some of that work right now. (The grant) is just for where the Powhite would go through the property and to the property,” said Matt McLaren of Chesterfield Economic Development.
In addition to initial design work for the extension through the property, the grant would also cover the creation of a pad site intended for a semiconductor manufacturer, Hart said.
“The vision right now is to chase a high-value semiconductor (fabrication) facility,” he said.
Chesterfield has said the 1,700-acre technology park site has 1,000 acres of contiguous developable acreage.
The Board of Supervisors in May voted to approve the county-initiated rezoning of Upper Magnolia Green, which came after months of deliberation and public meetings, as well as opposition from some county residents during the process.
“This announcement provides Chesterfield with a tremendous opportunity to have the Upper Magnolia property ready for a major development opportunity at the earliest possible time,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Kevin Carroll said in a prepared statement about the grant. “Preparing the site will strengthen the case for state and federal funding of the long awaited Powhite Parkway extension.”
The Upper Magnolia Green property that was subject to the spring rezonings consists of about 2,400 acres. The majority of that acreage is the technology park, while the remaining 700 acres on the eastern side of the property was rezoned for primarily residential development.
The tech park is zoned for seven principal uses: computer equipment manufacturing; laboratory; electronics component and accessory manufacturing; pharmaceutical products manufacturing; research and development; data center; and office.
The majority of the Upper Magnolia property was acquired by the Chesterfield Economic Development Authority in 2020. The county also rezoned hundreds of acres of privately held land as part of the project.
Hart said the county is looking to secure the use of those privately held acres by direct acquisition and other means. The EDA bought 140 acres at 5601 Moseley Road, which is within the Upper Magnolia tech park footprint, for $1 million in a deal that was recorded with the county in early August.
The grant funding is expected to cover about half of the county’s $51 million plan to get the Upper Magnolia tech park to achieve a Tier 4 site-readiness designation per the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program. (The site is currently considered Tier 3.) The figure also includes costs associated with land acquisition and the rezoning process.
The Virginia Business Ready Sites Program, through which Chesterfield’s grant was awarded, is intended to help develop project-ready industrial sites to make Virginia more competitive in attracting new businesses and foster company expansions. The program is administered by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office announced in mid-January that Chesterfield and other localities will receive grant funding. Chesterfield’s allocation is the largest of the 21 projects announced as funding winners, which together total $90 million in grants, according to a VEDP news release.
VEDP will create a performance agreement with Chesterfield and other grant recipients that details authorized funding usages and other provisions. Funds will be doled out on a reimbursement basis for the planned work as projects are completed, according to a VEDP spokeswoman Thursday.
Is the county planning to use the Appomattox River for its water use for the chip plant?
Interesting question I do wonder where Appomattox River Water Authority lines end and where County Utilities tied to Swift Creek Reservoir begin in that area.
I still don’t understand why they are ending the western end of the Powhite Parkway at a traffic light out of all things. Talk about crappy design, I already know that’s going to be an issue with backups. They should have extended it a little more to the west and merged it in with a interchange in order to keep traffic constantly flowing. The ideal goal I would say is to eventually upgrade the rest of US 360 west of here to freeway standards all the way down to South Boston.
It’s absolutely ludicrous to be building a new suburban office park and extending a limited access highway in the year 2023. This type of development is killing our region. Focus on the urban core and let greenfields stay green.
They have zero idea what they are doing to our environment. It also seems as if they don’t care.