While their interchange at the western end of Henrico has been a center of development activity for decades, the crossroads of interstates 64 and 295 on the east side of the county is about to get an influx of growth of its own.
More than 1,000 new homes are in the pipeline for the area southwest of the I-64-295 interchange in Varina, along with commercial development including a Wawa, fast-food restaurants and potentially a hotel.
Driving the bulk of the new development is Varina-based Godsey Properties, which in recent years has been assembling more than 150 acres along the Williamsburg Road corridor between I-295 and Sandston.
It’s also been securing county approvals for multiple projects that between them will add more than 900 rooftops to the area, most of those on the north side of Williamsburg Road west of its interchange with I-295.
And Godsey isn’t the only one making moves in the area. Across Williamsburg Road, HHHunt is planning a 118-unit townhome development on land beside the Chickahominy Family YMCA. The company announced that project, called Parkside Townes, last year.
Doug Godsey, who leads Godsey Properties and its contracting arm, Godsey & Son, said such activity has been a long time coming for eastern Henrico, where he grew up and where his business has dug in its heels with a new headquarters building on Charles City Road.
“You’re going to see a lot more development in that area,” Godsey said. “The east end has been neglected from development for quite a while now. I’m from here, so I take it to heart.
“I’m an east-ender, and I want to see the east end grow, and grow in the right way with the right developments,” he said. “The developments that we’re bringing down here, they’re west end amenities and subdivisions that are coming to the east end. The people are appreciating it, and it’s showing in the sales and the interest of all of these.”
A second-generation developer – the “son” in Godsey & Son – Godsey said the success of previous projects led him to double-down on eastern Henrico. The company’s work in the area includes the Townes at Oakley’s Bluff townhomes near Highland Springs. It’s also preparing to develop nearly 300 homes on the former Glenwood Golf Course along Creighton Road.
“When they opened up the first section of Oakley’s, they sold 76 in like the first month. That told us then there is a pent-up demand, especially in the east end,” Godsey said.
Godsey has started site work on one of the largest of the Williamsburg Road projects: its Landmark development, which is set to fill about 100 acres straddling Dry Bridge Road with 355 for-sale townhomes and 41 detached homes.
The project includes a 40-acre commercial section, where a Wawa is in the works and other commercial uses including three fast-food restaurants.
Closer to I-295, an extension project called Gateway at Landmark is approved to fill 52 acres beside the interstate with 484 condos and about a dozen detached homes, with connections with Landmark’s eastern edge.
Across Williamsburg Road, Godsey has wrapped up site prep for Taylor Green, a 46-unit townhome development just west of the Chickahominy Family YMCA.
And farther east, across Williamsburg from Dry Bridge Road, Godsey said he is planning a hotel and a restaurant on a parcel he purchased with the Landmark acreage. Godsey said he envisions the hotel serving out-of-town visitors to the forthcoming Taylor Farm Park, a 100-acre county park that recently broke ground and is being touted as the largest known “all-wheel” park in the state.
On all the residential projects, Godsey is working with Reston-based Ryan Homes, which he said alerted him to each of the development sites. Godsey worked on those deals with Brian Bowe, land market manager with Ryan parent company NVR.
Years in the making
Getting the ball rolling, Godsey bought the 100-acre Landmark site in 2018 from developer Salvatore Cangiano, who secured initial zoning for the project that Godsey updated with the county in 2020. Property records show Godsey paid $3.25 million for the assemblage, which includes the planned hotel site across Williamsburg Road.
Previously referred to as Drybridge Commons, the acreage had been floated for development in the late 2000s, when Virginia Beach-based Tetra Cos. planned a retail center and other development there before dissolving in the wake of the real estate market downturn. A sign still posted along Williamsburg Road marketed the retail center as “coming soon” in spring 2009.
Godsey said Landmark will be a $30 million project, with Primis Bank providing financing for construction. The rest of Landmark has so far been self-financed, which Godsey said has been a rule of thumb for most of the company’s projects.
The townhomes at Landmark are planned to vary between three sizes, from 20-to-37-foot footprints to 24-to-60s, with prices in the $300,000s. The detached bungalow-style houses would range upward from 1,400 square feet and be priced in the $400,000s.
Most of Landmark’s homes are planned on the east side of Dry Bridge Road, while 50 of the townhomes would be on the west side, with the bulk of the commercial section at its intersection with Williamsburg. Godsey said construction on the first section of townhomes is planned to start in late summer or early fall, with full buildout on Landmark expected to take six years.
Wawa has signed on for the northeast corner of Williamsburg and Dry Bridge. Godsey said the convenience store chain is also bringing an unnamed fast-food restaurant with it. County planners are currently reviewing a development plan for that project.
Godsey said he’s been trying to get a grocery store at Landmark, to no avail. He said a self-storage use could replace a retail strip center that was previously planned. He said he’s also been fielding calls from car wash chains.
With Gateway, which Godsey said would be a $25 million project, the stacked condos are planned to range from about 950 to 1,140 square feet in size and be priced from $200,000 to $250,000. An initial phase would consist of 72 condos in seven two-story buildings, according to plans filed with the county. Zoning for Gateway was approved last year.
Godsey said Landmark would likewise be developed in phases, with the first three phases needing to be completed before work can start on Gateway, which will rely on sewer connections from Landmark. He said he hopes to break ground on Gateway later this year.
The two developments will effectively wrap around an existing subdivision and apartment complex in the area. Godsey said sewer extensions for the developments would connect with the apartment complex, Sandston Woods. The sewer upgrades were coordinated with the county in the planning of Taylor Farm Park.
The 54-acre Gateway site remains owned by Henrico County Vocational/Technical Education Foundation, a housebuilding nonprofit that Godsey said will build on 10 of the detached home lots to train participants. Godsey said he expects to close on the Gateway site in the next couple months. The county has assessed the land at over $1.6 million.
Across the street, Taylor Green has cost $3 million in land and development costs, Godsey said. Townhomes there are planned to be 1,500 square feet in size and priced at about $250,000. Godsey said all 46 lots have already sold.
For the hotel site, Godsey has yet to file plans with the county but said development there would depend on a new traffic signal and pedestrian crossings that are in the works for Williamsburg Road at the intersection with Dry Bridge. He said those improvements would cost $750,000.
Workload includes Glenwood Golf Course project
As Godsey gets going on his Williamsburg Road projects, he’s also starting initial work on a pair of subdivisions he’s calling Fairway, which would replace the shuttered Glenwood Golf Course.
Approved in 2021, the project is planned to fill the 120-acre former golf course with 290 detached homes. The project also involves upgrades to Creighton Road, with a $4 million investment from Godsey to widen and improve the road along the length of the property.
Homes at the Fairways are planned to range from 1,350 to 3,000 square feet in size, with prices starting in the $300,000s for single-story homes and in the $400,000s for two-story homes. Planned amenities include lighted trails through the property and a park along a creek that bisects the site.
Godsey has not closed on the Glenwood property but said its current owners have allowed him to start initial roadwork on the site. He said the closing has been pushed back due to negotiations over a cell tower lease on the property. The county has assessed the property at just under $3 million.
Godsey projects the Fairways to cost $25 million, with buildout anticipated in five years. He said it would be 10 months before the first section can be turned over to Ryan Homes.
With its workload building up, Godsey said his company is in a good position to see the projects through, due to its self-financing approach and debt avoidance over the years. He said Landmark is his biggest project to date.
“My worst-case scenario is we go into a bad recession and I’ve got to carry it,” he said. “We’re in a position right now where we could carry these for 10 years if we needed to.”
A graduate of Highland Springs High School, Godsey, 56, said he left Virginia Tech to start working for his father’s construction company, which he’s since grown to 120 employees. The company two years ago built a new headquarters on Charles City Road, which Godsey said was a $3.5 million investment.
He described Godsey & Son as a full-service contractor that only subs out on concrete and asphalt. Godsey also co-owns NK Homes, a homebuilding firm whose work with Godsey Properties has included Timberlake Commons in Mechanicsville.
With Taylor Farm Park and other county projects in the pipeline, Godsey said he’s glad to see the investments coming to eastern Henrico on both the public and private side. He credited the county’s work to improve services in the area for driving his own investment there, lauding the efforts of Varina Supervisor Tyrone Nelson in particular.
“The east end has needed something to happen down here for a long time. You go to the west end, and they’ve just always gotten the new parks, the new railroad crossings. We’ve just been neglected over the years, and Tyrone has done a fabulous job with bringing the east end to where it needs to be,” Godsey said. “He has been the driving force.”
The uptick in activity adds to other development in the works for Varina. On Sandston’s airport side, Shamin Hotels is planning a Residence Inn hotel at 500 W. Williamsburg Road. And farther south near Route 5, East West Communities recently secured approval for its 800-home Arcadia project.
I love the fact that the east end is finally seeing development. Though, why does it have to be suburban development with cul de sacs? If we started to build grid like streets in the suburbs we could possibly make them transit and walking friendly. The streets don’t have to be straight, they can still be curvy.
It’s unfortunate how unwalkable a lot of these places are and lack of transit access. The closest bus stop is about a mile away. Looking at the plan map, it would be so easy to make it so much more connected to the existing community – even with pedestrian access at the least from the cul de sacs. I think a large overhaul of the area pedestrian-wise would really help to make it more walkable and area amenities (e.g. the YMCA) accessible by walking to it instead of relying on car dependency.
They need to build sidewalks and bike paths along the major roads in this area.
I wish they would build grid streets or streets that would follow Route 60 so all the traffic doesn’t have to get funneled on to it and then they have to have a million stoplights so every driveway can have stoplight.
I love that these are all single family homes and not apartments! And affordable at that!
What’s wrong with apartments?
We need more density and walkability for future developments if we want to avoid becoming congested like NOVA. This development only makes our traffic situation worse, and traffic is something you always bring up. Why aren’t you requesting new/wider roads with this development?
How this project will make traffic worse it is will funnel it all on to Route 60 vs having local streets to take pressure off of Route 60. I also find it anoying how a place can only be a quater of a mile away and you need a big SUV to get to it.
Ed – I am not against apartments, but I am FOR home ownership. Justin, I believe in high density, but prefer high density condo’s not apartments, also I prefer to put high density condos near similar structures and let the current public transportation system expand it’s current stops; rather than try to tie in bus transportation 5 miles away, or 20 miles away from the nearest rail stop. The area in topic, has 1/10 (guessing) the volume of vehicles Short Pump & 360 have. And adding a few hundred homes to this area will not impact but one intersection, Rt… Read more »
I would support bulldozing existing shopping centers and replacing single family homes with denser projects to avoid cutting down trees.
They need more muti family homes and town homes in that these single family homes are chartoonisy out of reach for a lot of people.
I have a map at home that tells what places I’m never going to even imagine myself living at unless I’m at a street corner stoplight begging for change.