The transformation of the so-called Westwood area from an industrial corridor to a mixed-use neighborhood appears slated to continue, as the family that made rainbow cookies a Richmond staple is cooking up a massive development on the site of its flagship bakery.
The Ukrop family is planning a mixed-use infill and partial redevelopment of the nearly 20-acre office complex at 2000 Westmoreland St., where their Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods bakery and catering businesses are based. The multiphased project could ultimately consist of 1,000 multifamily residential units, along with a mix of retail, restaurant, office and hotel uses.
A permit request for the development has been filed with Henrico County and is set to go before the Planning Commission at its Feb. 9 meeting.
The request was filed on behalf of Family Holdings LC, an entity managed by Jim Ukrop that bought the 19-acre site for $5 million in 1994. Henrico assessed the property last year at over $26 million.
Jim’s brother, Bobby Ukrop, leads Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods as chairman and CEO. The brothers formerly led the family’s Ukrop’s supermarket chain, which they sold in 2010.
Greg Suskind, managing director of the family’s investment affiliates, said they decided the time was right to start the development process after bearing witness to the area’s growth.
“The family’s been over there for close to 30 years, and they did a fair amount of work on the bakery and redeveloped the office building. We’re essentially just watching all of the growth in the area – the Westwood area and certainly Willow Lawn in general, and spillover from Scott’s Addition – and we just feel like it’s a good time to begin this process,” Suskind said.
Plans call for removing parts of the office complex and replacing them with new buildings that would also fill the surrounding parking lots. The Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods portion of the complex would remain as a stand-alone building with a potential expansion of the bakery also in the works.
In addition to the bakery, the 332,000-square-foot complex is home to Fortis College, the Virginia health department’s vital records office and various other state government offices. The structures date to the 1960s.
Called Westmoreland Crossing, the project is described in a county staff report as a phased mixed-use development with structured parking and civic and retail spaces that would provide transitional areas between the larger buildings. The application includes conceptual renderings that show similar mixed-use, urban-style developments.
The first phase would involve a new mixed-use building beside Maywill Street and the adjacent Tapestry West apartments, which were built in recent years along with the nearby Kinsale Capital Group headquarters building. The land for those buildings had also been owned by an entity tied to the Ukrops.
The initial building would include up to 300 residential units along with retail spaces and structured parking. A second building beside it, planned for the second phase, would blend hotel, retail and office uses and include a parking deck.
The third phase would see a mixed-use building with 200 residential units along Thalbro Street. A half-acre site between that building and Tapestry West would be used for transitional retail uses and open space. The initial phases would also see the existing bakery made a stand-alone building.
Future phases would include a civic area space fronting Westmoreland Street across from its intersection with Jacque Street, and two sites south of that and east of the bakery that are earmarked for mixed-use development. That part of the project could involve an additional 500 residential units, as well as office and retail uses.
The development would include new roads and walkways, creating a new grid-like traffic pattern throughout the site. The permit application includes a development pattern book detailing access and parking, pedestrian connectivity and streetscapes, building massing, and architectural, landscape and lighting design standards.
Building heights would be limited to 200 feet, and more than 1,400 parking spaces are proposed on the site overall. The staff report refers to the residential units as apartments and states that a breakdown of bedroom counts is currently unavailable. Of the first 500 residential units, no more than 10 percent could have three bedrooms, the report states.
Suskind said the market would dictate the timing and length of the development. He said the project could see more than one phase developed at a time.
County planning staff is recommending approval of the project, which the report describes as consisting of “many positive features intended to create the desired urban development pattern.”
The Ukrops are working on the project with Pivot Development, a local firm led by Rob Lanphear. Pivot previously worked with the Ukrops on a 15,000-square-foot medical office building beside the Ukrop’s Market Hall at Patterson Avenue and Horsepen Road.
Pivot’s other projects include 25 townhomes it’s developing on part of the Discovery United Methodist Church property at Gayton Road and Lauderdale Drive. Lanphear also developed the Carter’s Ridge subdivision in the Tuckahoe area, and he had a hand in the apartment conversion of the former Flood Zone/Have A Nice Day Café building in Shockoe Bottom.
Lanphear said working with the Ukrops on the medical office building led to Westmoreland Crossing, which he acknowledged is his biggest project to date. Despite its size, he said the project fits with his track record of infill development in Henrico, where he’s been most active.
“I have worked with the ownership group in the past, and it was a natural extension of some of the things that we had worked on together,” Lanphear said.
“What’s great about this location is that it’s infill, and the area where I do well is infill development,” he said. “Secondly, it’s in Henrico, and I’ve had a strong history with the Henrico team and am excited to continue that. It is a larger scale than I’ve been part of in the past, and I’m really excited to do that.”
Before launching Pivot in 2017, Lanphear was a partner with local development group Stanley Shield after a stint with Ryan Homes and parent company NVR, according to his LinkedIn page.
Other firms involved in Westmoreland Crossing include architect Baskervill, civil engineer Timmons Group and landscape architect Cite Design. Local attorney Andy Condlin with Roth Jackson Gibbons Condlin is representing the group.
Lanphear said the project is in the conceptual stage and that details such as housing types and rent or price ranges are to be determined. He said the permit would allow flexibility in housing types, which under “multifamily” could include rental or for-sale townhomes or condos as well as apartments. He declined to comment on the number of rooms planned for the hotel and whether an operator has been lined up.
The project would add to other development activity that’s ramped up in and around the Westwood area in recent years, following Henrico’s positioning of the largely industrial corridor as a sort of second version of the nearby Scott’s Addition neighborhood across the county-city line.
Local developer Fulton Hill Properties is planning a seven-story building with 253 apartments across Thalbro from the Westmoreland Crossing site. Kinsale, meanwhile, recently purchased the 29-acre former Anthem office campus at Staples Mill Road and Broad Street, where it’s planning an expansion.
The Westmoreland Crossing site is next door to a Lidl grocery store, and farther east along Broad, Arizona-based Alliance Residential Co. is planning a pair of apartment buildings totaling 340 units on the former Motleys HQ site.
Of Kinsale’s HQ development, which was carved out of the Ukrops’ larger site, Lanphear said, “They’ve done some high-quality work there, and they’ve really set the tone for what’s to come in the area. I’m really excited to continue to help steward that property over the future decades, and position it so that we can grow incrementally in a way that’s going to enhance the total area.”
A public hearing on the project would precede a vote from the Planning Commission, which would recommend approval or denial to the Board of Supervisors.
Now THATS a big change in the scheme of things.
Wow. 20 acres! This is awesome. I am sure the Ukrops will do a first class project. Go get em!
“Building heights would be limited to 200 feet…” Apparently the developers have been given the option to build nearly 20 stories high, yet they have chosen to build low-rise 5 over 1 style buildings. If you’re in that usual chorus of critics who like to complain here about a shortage of housing, don’t blame the county, the city, or local residents. Blame the developers.
I’m not in the CRE industry but folks I know who are tell me wood framing can go up to about five or six levels above podium parking – so the seven and eight story apartment buildings that are becoming the norm in Scott’s Addition are still using wood-frame construction. Depending on the amount of integrated parking, they may (in reality) be something akin to a 6-over-2 or a 5-over-3 for an 8 or 9 story building. As Brian Glass points out (below) that’s about as far as they can go if they choose this construction type. Even prefab, while… Read more »
No mention of the inclusion of some affordable housing units in this project?
Jonathan must be too young to know this was a Thalhimers department store. It was their Westmoreland location
I was thinking same thing because it was a mix of retail Circuit City used to have a big storm back there as did Costco (the. Price Club).
Side note Vital Records is supposedly not renewing their lease and will be moving per staff.
They need to make sure there is access to the Pulse Bus, to lessen the traffic impact.
The Pulse stop is 2 blocks away.
Wendy: The height is chosen based on the materials used in construction. Once you go above a certain height wood framing can’t be used. Wood framing is far less expensive than steel. Other factors come into play as well such as the type of elevators, parking requirements and so forth.
Spot-on explanation, Brian. 👍 🙂
This is pretty amazing that they are going to pull a 1,000 units of housing out of a group of empty parking lots without cutting down any trees.
I hope Henrico county steps up sidewalk construction in the area.
Henrico killing it lately, cool to see
Glad to see this happening, but the plan is not inspiring. It’s a bunch of boxes poorly located. The retail is located on a one way service alley for the adjacent parking garage. Shift it south, near Lidl, create some synergy. The Civic area could be shifted more central to the development, and become a focus for the community. Clearly an engineering solution, Baskervill, don’t let Timmons railroad the project.