HHHunt starts 2,200-home development beside Westchester Commons

AireAtWestchesterPromenade

A rendering of the promenade and homes planned for The Aire at Westchester along Watkins Centre Parkway across from Westchester Commons. (Images courtesy HHHunt Communities)

As construction begins on a new food option at Westchester Commons, a massive development getting underway next door is set to add thousands of potential customers.

Site work has started on The Aire at Westchester, a mixed-use development with 2,200 homes that’s set to fill parts of a 334-acre tract directly west of the shopping center at Route 288 and Midlothian Turnpike.

HHHunt Communities is developing the project through a joint venture with GrayCo Properties, the Henrico-based firm that owns the land.

AireAtWestchesterMasterPlan

The project’s master site plan shows residential sections closer to Route 288, and commercial and mixed-use development planned near Midlothian Turnpike. 

Jonathan Ridout, general manager and vice president of real estate development for HHHunt Communities, said land-clearing work is underway for the project’s first phase, which will consist of for-sale townhomes and two-over-two units on the hillside beside Watkins Centre Parkway.

A subsequent phase for more townhomes will start in six months, with single-family homes and commercial buildings to follow over the course of the development. Ridout said the overall project is expected to take 10 to 15 years to complete.

Jonathan Ridout

Jonathan Ridout

“It’s market-driven, what’s going to come next,” Ridout said. “Our plan enables us a lot of flexibility, so we’re just going to go in a direction that the market tells us to go from a development perspective.”

Plans call for a mix of homes, including single-family, townhomes and apartments and up to 200,000 square feet of commercial space, including a 70,000-square-foot grocery store and potentially an 80-room hotel. Ridout said the developers have yet to line up users for the grocery or hotel and have not signed other commercial tenants yet.

The three-section development is to be integrated with Westchester Commons and connected via a park system and greenway, which Ridout said would include a promenade overlooking Watkins Centre Parkway.

“A lot of focus has been spent on the amenities and the walkability of the community. With our first phases, we’re bringing on part of the greenway network that’ll be there, and a couple of our larger park systems are going to be implemented with the first phase of development,” Ridout said. “It’s going to be a great combination of residential uses and something different for the area.”

7.19R AireAtWestchesterImages

An image shows potential uses for each of the development’s three sections. (BizSense file)

Ridout said home prices have yet to be set but would be in line with the townhomes that StyleCraft Homes is building on vacant parcels within Westchester Commons. Called The Edge at Westchester Commons, those three- and four-story townhomes are priced starting at $425,000, with units ranging from 2,000 to 2,800 square feet.

Full site development for The Aire is expected to take 12 to 18 months, with vertical construction starting in 18 months. Ridout said final plan approvals are hoped to be secured from the county soon.

He said an overall project cost estimate for The Aire could not be provided because of cost fluctuations anticipated over the course of the development.

Chesterfield supervisors approved the project in 2021, updating previous zoning that allowed for up to 1,600 residential units and 350,000 square feet of commercial space. The Aire at Westchester calls for 615 more residential units but 150,000 square feet less commercial space.

The project site consists of four parcels, at 1801 and 2021 Huguenot Springs Road, and at 15550 and 15900 Midlothian Turnpike. GrayCo has owned the land since 2006, when the parcels were purchased for $11.7 million collectively. Chesterfield has assessed the parcels at $23 million combined, up from nearly $12 million in 2021.

GrayCo was represented in joint venture negotiations with HHHunt by Thalhimer’s David Smith.

Brick House Diner breaks ground

BrickHouseWestChester2

The vacant parcel at the shopping center’s Midlothian Turnpike entrance is the site of the new Brick House Diner, which is starting construction. (Images courtesy Chesterfield Economic Development)

While The Aire at Westchester gets started next door, a new location of a restaurant Midlothian diners are familiar with is starting construction within Westchester Commons.

Brick House Diner recently broke ground on a 5,000-square-foot restaurant building at 100 Schofield Drive. The new spot will replace the diner’s current Midlothian Turnpike location, which is slated to close eventually.  The Westchester Commons outpost will rise on a vacant 1-acre parcel beside the Taco Bell at the shopping center’s entrance off Midlothian Turnpike.

BrickHouseWestchester1

County officials joined the Routsis family in a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Brick House Diner.

Brick House’s owner-operators, the Routsis family, bought the parcel in 2020 for $600,000, property records show. The new building will seat 140 people, 20 more than the 3,000-square-foot space at 13520 Midlothian Turnpike, which they lease and opened in 2004.

The Westchester Commons location is targeted to open later this year. The Routsises opened a second area location, Brick House on the Boulevard, in the former Kitchen 64 space in the city last year.

Joining Brick House at Westchester is The Bowl, a Vietnamese restaurant that recently signed on for the former Dominic’s Italian Grille space at 15270 WC Main St. The Bowl’s menu includes Vietnamese staples such as pho, banh mi sandwiches and rice and noodle dishes.

POSTED IN Residential Real Estate

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
28 days ago

The Aire at Westchester was once called High View as it’s the highest elevation in Chesterfield County and any other point east to the Bay. I’ve seen site plan iterations of the property for parts of three decades so it’s good that a final plan has evolved and another local developer will be spearheading the build-out of this key property.

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
28 days ago

I’m really going to miss the wall of white flower trees that used to change white and pink every spring along Route 60. Something tells me we are getting another stoplight along Route 60 and no sidewalks or trail along Route 60.

Jay Emory
Jay Emory
27 days ago

I’m going to miss all the trees as well. As someone who grew up in that area all I can envision is this entire county will eventually look like one massive suburban hell. Developments as far as the eye can see, no green space whatsoever. I mean new developments don’t have any trees because developers come in and just wipe them all out. We had a lot of neighborhoods growing up but at least we still had green space.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
26 days ago
Reply to  Jay Emory

Your and Carl’s feelings are real, and I believe you, but this is just how metros grow. Similar complaints occured when I was young — rural people opposed suburbs, suburbs oppose densification, small cities oppose becoming less-livible cities. I am quite sure when the big cities of Europe like Paris were expanding, normal humans opposed the changes, except for those who were selling out to the inexorable. The key is always to try to buy in early. If you can’t afford it, move somewhere where you can buy in, Then, when the change comes, and you decide it makes sense,… Read more »

Jay Emory
Jay Emory
26 days ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

I reject the notion that this is “just how it has to be.” I hold a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning and the reality is it is not like this in every suburb or city in the country or in the world. We even have much more multifamily housing being built in Chesterfield County, which is precisely what we need so that those who desire to live here can do so without needing 1,000 acres to make it happen. Smart planning is absolutely possible. Lastly, to compare RVA to Paris is absurd. At least go with a mid-sized city.… Read more »

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
26 days ago
Reply to  Jay Emory

“I hold a Masters in Urban Planning and….” Say no more. Universities are filled with entire Departments where reality-denying is not only encouraged, but enforced. One of the worst things about the Universities regarding development is how much Suburban development is ignored as a subject of study by academics, even though it is perhaps the largest actually money maker in North America and probably soon the world, if what I see happening (the Houstonization) is happening. On another topic, I think you have created two Straw Men and called them “Shawn” — I never said anything about being opposed to… Read more »

Jason Collins
Jason Collins
28 days ago

And where are the children who reside in these 2,200 units going gto go to school? At the already overcrowded Old Hundred elementary school, or the overcrowded and dilapidated Midlothian Middle School? Chesterfield County is ass backwards in it’s planning and infrastructure.

George MacGuffin
George MacGuffin
28 days ago
Reply to  Jason Collins

Why Jason you seem to be unfamiliar with how things are done in Chesterssippi. Developers (the great, great offspring of farmers) eventually build subdivisions on the old homestead. It is a right of passage like fishing, hunting, and getting your first F-150 or Chevy Suburban. After the dust settles from the fleets of dump trucks and all the construction, they wait for the roads to get impossibly overcrowded and then they add one of them stoplight thingamabobs, they wait for the schools to get impossibly overcrowded before they add some of those trailermebobs. Sidewalks, street lighting, and trails? I say… Read more »

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
26 days ago

I’ll do you one better — having known older New Englanders once, the original New Englanders are even against the sidewalks and street lamps that all the newcomers from NYC environs or wherever are wanting to put in. Their mentality was if you don’t like rural New England go back to your expensive NYC-land!

Thank you for pointing this out to these folks.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
26 days ago

Top ten comment, by the way!

I see people are finally admitting that they have a sense of humor here in the comments. A good sign,

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
26 days ago

Bring back Three Chopt Road!!!

Alan Wilson
Alan Wilson
27 days ago

No mention of upgrades to the existing roads infrastructure within Westchester Commons. The current traffic patterns are woefully inadequate for the massive influx that is now on the horizon, and the two-lane traffic circles (that few know how to correctly navigate) are quite dangerous as it is. Increasing daily traffic exponentially without addressing this already outdated design will certainly result in driving chaos. 

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
26 days ago
Reply to  Alan Wilson

exponentially?

Randall Hudgins
Randall Hudgins
27 days ago

Seems like the outer landscaped area should be inside the fence line – or maybe changed to some sort of moat.

Scott Brown
Scott Brown
26 days ago

What’s going to happen when Chesterfield runs out of space to build housing?

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
26 days ago
Reply to  Scott Brown

……. when will that be? Seriously, forget about the huge amount of green space on the margins, even the inner suburbs are ever so slowly being redeveloped with more density, and many of those inner neighborhoods are built on large lots and have an almost rural feel to them. But even inner densification will not happen soon no matter what the armchair urbanists demand because there is so much land WEST of Chesterfield. Indeed, the fastest growing Muni in the Richmond metro is on the other side; it’s New Kent. Heck, even where housing prices are FAR higher, say Arlington… Read more »

George MacGuffin
George MacGuffin
26 days ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

That’s because the anomaly known as Virginia is nothing more than a fly-over state that so happens to be on the coast and where fortune landed the country’s capital at its doorstep.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
25 days ago

That is a bit of an exaggeration and your contempt for a State that scores high on many measures, including Education and Business Friendliness —- one of the wealthiest states if you control for certain factors — is not terribly becoming. Being from NYS, I noticed that sort of unattractive arrogance not just in people from NYC, but NYS in general, most of which resembles other less glamours states. In fact, there was a certain kind of activist I went college with who was quite visibly unattractive and his manner was even moreso — he once told me that in… Read more »

Jim McConnell
Jim McConnell
26 days ago
Reply to  Scott Brown

By design, the southern half of Chesterfield remains mostly undeveloped. There are thousands and thousands of acres of green space that are being preserved as the county’s long-term future growth area once the northern half is fully built out 50 years from now.

Also, people don’t have a great sense of how much land mass you’re talking about. It’s 437 square miles. All of Henrico County would fit inside the Matoaca District.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
25 days ago
Reply to  Jim McConnell

Thank You. Not just for educating Mr. Brown, but for educating me as well.

Scott Brown
Scott Brown
24 days ago
Reply to  Jim McConnell

I see your point about the overall size of Chesterfiled. It use to be even bigger before some of it was taken by the city in the 70’s. But just because it is large doesn’t mean it all has to be used for housing. There is a limit on the number of people that the Chesterfield infrastructure can handle. There can only be so many schools, so many roads, and so many roads that can be expanded to 8 lanes.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
22 days ago
Reply to  Scott Brown

Ah! There you go making sense now. Yes, and Chesterfield knows this — they actually block a LOT of residential development, esp low density small single family home development for these very infrastructure reasons. They ideally want things like data centers that have lots of expensive equipment they can tax but few pesky employees that need single family homes and drive to work, but they are still very happy if it is a factory or something. Retail they are kind of Meh about, as many point out, they kinda have enough retail space already — tear some existing stuff down,… Read more »

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
25 days ago

“It’s market-driven, what’s going to come next,” Ridout said. “Our plan enables us a lot of flexibility, so we’re just going to go in a direction that the market tells us to go from a development perspective.”

Comments like these are for Planners and Urbanists like showing Dracula the cross.