Glenwood Farms redevelopment now planned for nearly 1,000 units

GlenwoodFarms4

The apartment community spans 32 acres southeast of Mechanicsville Turnpike and Laburnum Avenue. (BizSense file photo)

A plan to redevelop the blighted Glenwood Farms community now calls for replacing its nearly 300 apartments with more than triple that number of new homes.

A rezoning request filed for the massive redevelopment by developers Spy Rock Real Estate and Crescent Development shows a total of 950 residential units, at least 150 more than the “nearly 800 units” that were planned when Henrico County announced the public-private project in May.

A county staff report that accompanies the request does not address the increase in the number of units, which would be a mix of apartments, including age-restricted units, for-sale townhomes and condominiums.

Crescent principal Zac Frederick said the developers were able to increase the number of units after securing additional land – a roughly 3-acre wooded parcel at 3600 Len Court. Frederick said that allowed them to “increase density through a more efficient design.”

GlenwoodFarmsConceptualPlan

A conceptual site plan shows potential building layouts for the Glenwood Farms redevelopment. (County documents)

Spy Rock and Crescent, which are molding the now 35-acre project after their nearby Springdale Park redevelopment, are seeking an urban mixed-use zoning designation to allow up to 555 apartments, 395 townhomes or condos, and an unspecified amount of commercial space.  The commercial spaces will include stand-alone retail on a 1.5-acre portion and first-floor storefronts in some of the residential buildings.

The development would replace Glenwood Farms’ 294 apartments, some of which have been condemned and many of which are unoccupied. The community, which straddles Laburnum Avenue a few blocks east Mechanicsville Turnpike, has been riddled with building code violations and safety concerns since its previous owner acquired it in 2018.

Glenwood Farms 1

The buildings at Glenwood Farms date to the late 1940s. (File photo courtesy Henrico County)

Henrico is providing support with a $9 million bridge loan from the county’s Economic Development Authority that Spy Rock and Crescent would pay back with interest, as well as an additional $2 million for the project’s second phase to assist with components for housing for lower-income residents. The bulk of those units would be for households making 60 percent of the area median income.

Further support would be provided via a demolition grant, through water and sewer connection fees, tax-increment financing for up to 15 years, and reimbursement of building permit fees. The project is targeted to start next year, with build-out expected within 10 years.

The housing would consist of both market-rate and income-based units, including so-called “workforce housing” and some “deeply affordable” units, meaning the lowest level of housing affordability. Spy Rock and Crescent plan to work with Maggie Walker Community Land Trust, a regional nonprofit, to make some of the homes perpetually affordable.

The project’s first phase would involve 140 townhomes north of Laburnum, 250 apartments and 175 age-restricted apartments for households with at least one person age 55 or older. The first-phase townhomes would fill about 8 acres north of Laburnum along Howard and Bolling roads, and the apartments in Phase 1 would fill about 9 acres southeast of Laburnum and Bolling Road and include a 3,000-square-foot clubhouse, playground and pool.

GlenwoodFarmsLandBaysPlan

A land bays map shows the townhomes planned north of Laburnum and the apartments and commercial site to the south.

The rest of the apartments and mixed-use buildings in Phase 2 would fill about 17 acres across Bolling and on both sides of Byron Street between Rescue Avenue and Harvie Road. The Glenwood Farms shopping center in that area, totaling 24,000 square feet, would be demolished.

The apartment buildings would range in height from three to four stories, with the age-restricted units in the taller building. No more than 25 percent of the apartments – 138 units – could be three-bedroom, a restriction aimed at managing impacts on area school capacities.

GlenwoodFarmsApts

The apartment buildings would be similar to those at Springdale Park, with the age-restricted units in a four-story building, shown at right.

The townhomes would be two and three stories with garages and no more than 10 units per row. The rest of the multifamily units could consist of condos and duplexes, including one-over-one and two-over-two condos, meaning a one- or two-story unit atop a similar-sized unit.

The buildings’ appearance would be similar to those at Springdale Park and adhere to a pattern book submitted with the rezoning application. Poole & Poole Architecture designed Springdale Park and is also the architect on Glenwood Farms.

GlenwoodFarmsTHs

Images of the two- and three-story townhomes, condos and duplexes.

The 1.5-acre commercial site is planned along Laburnum between Bolling and the county’s Fire Station 7. Two bus stops also would be added along Laburnum, and 25-foot vegetative buffers are planned between the development and surrounding neighborhoods.

The development would include private streets and alleys and one new public street between Bolling and Howard. A conceptual site plan shows that a portion of Howard between Byron and Laburnum could be vacated and replaced with some of the buildings. A pedestrian network also is planned with connections to Laburnum and surrounding neighborhoods.

In addition to clubhouses and pools, planned amenities include 5 acres of open space, landscaped open areas, pocket parks and paseos – pedestrian paths with landscaping on both sides.

GlenwoodFarmsClubhouse

The clubhouse and pool at Springdale Park, which is informing the Glenwood Farms project.

The rezoning request is on the agenda for the Henrico Planning Commission’s meeting this Thursday. County planning staff is recommending approval but also encouraging the developers to consider “additional commitments and consistency regarding amenities for all uses, parking, fencing, pedestrian connectivity” and the frontage of townhome garages on public streets.

“Not only would the proposed development make productive use of a property in need of maintenance and improve the corridor’s appearance, but it could also provide the momentum needed to spur additional job-producing reinvestment in the nearby Mechanicsville Turnpike and Laburnum Avenue corridors,” the staff report states.

Hirschler attorney Jeff Geiger is representing the developers in their request. Cite Design is the landscape architect and master planner on the project, and Timmons Group is the civil engineer.

Frequent collaborators, Spy Rock and Crescent recently broke ground on another project in Henrico: the 186-unit Helios Apartments, a solar-powered complex taking shape at the former Days Inn of Richmond site near the Chamberlayne-Interstate 95 interchange.

GlenwoodFarms4

The apartment community spans 32 acres southeast of Mechanicsville Turnpike and Laburnum Avenue. (BizSense file photo)

A plan to redevelop the blighted Glenwood Farms community now calls for replacing its nearly 300 apartments with more than triple that number of new homes.

A rezoning request filed for the massive redevelopment by developers Spy Rock Real Estate and Crescent Development shows a total of 950 residential units, at least 150 more than the “nearly 800 units” that were planned when Henrico County announced the public-private project in May.

A county staff report that accompanies the request does not address the increase in the number of units, which would be a mix of apartments, including age-restricted units, for-sale townhomes and condominiums.

Crescent principal Zac Frederick said the developers were able to increase the number of units after securing additional land – a roughly 3-acre wooded parcel at 3600 Len Court. Frederick said that allowed them to “increase density through a more efficient design.”

GlenwoodFarmsConceptualPlan

A conceptual site plan shows potential building layouts for the Glenwood Farms redevelopment. (County documents)

Spy Rock and Crescent, which are molding the now 35-acre project after their nearby Springdale Park redevelopment, are seeking an urban mixed-use zoning designation to allow up to 555 apartments, 395 townhomes or condos, and an unspecified amount of commercial space.  The commercial spaces will include stand-alone retail on a 1.5-acre portion and first-floor storefronts in some of the residential buildings.

The development would replace Glenwood Farms’ 294 apartments, some of which have been condemned and many of which are unoccupied. The community, which straddles Laburnum Avenue a few blocks east Mechanicsville Turnpike, has been riddled with building code violations and safety concerns since its previous owner acquired it in 2018.

Glenwood Farms 1

The buildings at Glenwood Farms date to the late 1940s. (File photo courtesy Henrico County)

Henrico is providing support with a $9 million bridge loan from the county’s Economic Development Authority that Spy Rock and Crescent would pay back with interest, as well as an additional $2 million for the project’s second phase to assist with components for housing for lower-income residents. The bulk of those units would be for households making 60 percent of the area median income.

Further support would be provided via a demolition grant, through water and sewer connection fees, tax-increment financing for up to 15 years, and reimbursement of building permit fees. The project is targeted to start next year, with build-out expected within 10 years.

The housing would consist of both market-rate and income-based units, including so-called “workforce housing” and some “deeply affordable” units, meaning the lowest level of housing affordability. Spy Rock and Crescent plan to work with Maggie Walker Community Land Trust, a regional nonprofit, to make some of the homes perpetually affordable.

The project’s first phase would involve 140 townhomes north of Laburnum, 250 apartments and 175 age-restricted apartments for households with at least one person age 55 or older. The first-phase townhomes would fill about 8 acres north of Laburnum along Howard and Bolling roads, and the apartments in Phase 1 would fill about 9 acres southeast of Laburnum and Bolling Road and include a 3,000-square-foot clubhouse, playground and pool.

GlenwoodFarmsLandBaysPlan

A land bays map shows the townhomes planned north of Laburnum and the apartments and commercial site to the south.

The rest of the apartments and mixed-use buildings in Phase 2 would fill about 17 acres across Bolling and on both sides of Byron Street between Rescue Avenue and Harvie Road. The Glenwood Farms shopping center in that area, totaling 24,000 square feet, would be demolished.

The apartment buildings would range in height from three to four stories, with the age-restricted units in the taller building. No more than 25 percent of the apartments – 138 units – could be three-bedroom, a restriction aimed at managing impacts on area school capacities.

GlenwoodFarmsApts

The apartment buildings would be similar to those at Springdale Park, with the age-restricted units in a four-story building, shown at right.

The townhomes would be two and three stories with garages and no more than 10 units per row. The rest of the multifamily units could consist of condos and duplexes, including one-over-one and two-over-two condos, meaning a one- or two-story unit atop a similar-sized unit.

The buildings’ appearance would be similar to those at Springdale Park and adhere to a pattern book submitted with the rezoning application. Poole & Poole Architecture designed Springdale Park and is also the architect on Glenwood Farms.

GlenwoodFarmsTHs

Images of the two- and three-story townhomes, condos and duplexes.

The 1.5-acre commercial site is planned along Laburnum between Bolling and the county’s Fire Station 7. Two bus stops also would be added along Laburnum, and 25-foot vegetative buffers are planned between the development and surrounding neighborhoods.

The development would include private streets and alleys and one new public street between Bolling and Howard. A conceptual site plan shows that a portion of Howard between Byron and Laburnum could be vacated and replaced with some of the buildings. A pedestrian network also is planned with connections to Laburnum and surrounding neighborhoods.

In addition to clubhouses and pools, planned amenities include 5 acres of open space, landscaped open areas, pocket parks and paseos – pedestrian paths with landscaping on both sides.

GlenwoodFarmsClubhouse

The clubhouse and pool at Springdale Park, which is informing the Glenwood Farms project.

The rezoning request is on the agenda for the Henrico Planning Commission’s meeting this Thursday. County planning staff is recommending approval but also encouraging the developers to consider “additional commitments and consistency regarding amenities for all uses, parking, fencing, pedestrian connectivity” and the frontage of townhome garages on public streets.

“Not only would the proposed development make productive use of a property in need of maintenance and improve the corridor’s appearance, but it could also provide the momentum needed to spur additional job-producing reinvestment in the nearby Mechanicsville Turnpike and Laburnum Avenue corridors,” the staff report states.

Hirschler attorney Jeff Geiger is representing the developers in their request. Cite Design is the landscape architect and master planner on the project, and Timmons Group is the civil engineer.

Frequent collaborators, Spy Rock and Crescent recently broke ground on another project in Henrico: the 186-unit Helios Apartments, a solar-powered complex taking shape at the former Days Inn of Richmond site near the Chamberlayne-Interstate 95 interchange.

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
11 days ago

The region needs housing. Bring it on! Crescent and Spyrock develop with a conscience. They do what they promise.

Chris Chandler
Chris Chandler
9 days ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

*Affordable housing- almost all new homes are in the upwards of $275K+, and on the rental side in a decent neighborhood, $2K+, however incomes aren’t increasing at the levels of housing costs, so we are creating 2007/2008 all over again.

Will Teeples
Will Teeples
11 days ago

The more units the better, I especially like the inclusion of two bus stops as part of the design. However, it would be nice to have some protected bike lanes to encourage additional alternative transportation usage. You’d be surprised how many people want to ride their bike to destinations but don’t have a safe means to do so!

Michael Boyer
Michael Boyer
11 days ago
Reply to  Will Teeples

Mechanicsville Turnpike is for vehicleiar traffic,motor/battery vehicles,not a bicycle.I guess next you’ll want protective bicycle lanes along I95 //I64 to downtown.

Garry Whelan
Garry Whelan
11 days ago
Reply to  Michael Boyer

Given this proposed development is not on Mechanicsville Turnpike, and it wasn’t mentioned in the post you replied to, pardon?
There’s lots of potential to make this a more connected development for people who aren’t in cars, leaving your turnpikes and Interstates unmolested.

Michael Boyer
Michael Boyer
11 days ago
Reply to  Garry Whelan

Excuse me Sir,under the first picture it said,southeast of Mechanicsville Turnpike and Laburnum Ave.

Doug Johnson
Doug Johnson
11 days ago
Reply to  Michael Boyer

Mechanicsville Turnpike is several blocks away from this development.

Michael Boyer
Michael Boyer
11 days ago
Reply to  Doug Johnson

I’m just going by what the caption said.

Doug Johnson
Doug Johnson
10 days ago
Reply to  Michael Boyer

The map that accompanies the story shows Mechanicsville 360 is several blocks away from the development. 360 does need safer bike/pedestrian lanes, especially since the new development has opened where Henrico Plaza used to be but Mechanicsville 360 doesn’t have anything to do with *this* development. That’s all Laburnum Avenue but there also needs to be safer passageways on Laburnum so people can safely walk or bike to the shops along Mechanicsville 360, as well as the Fairfield Library and shops along Laburnum Avenue.

Steve Cook
Steve Cook
11 days ago
Reply to  Michael Boyer

I tend to agree. One can quibble all day long as to how far from Mechanicsville Tnpk, but (and I’m sincerely asking) is there any way to get anywhere one might wish to go (shopping, medical offices, work) that doesn’t involve taking Mechanicsville Tnpk?

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
10 days ago
Reply to  Steve Cook

Henrico County will need to build several quater mile sidewalks and trails to link this project into Mechanicsville Turnpike.

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
10 days ago
Reply to  Michael Boyer

Henrico County and Vdot have a major traffic study in the works to build sidewalks and pedestrian signals along Mechanicsville Turnpike.

Also a bike path does exist along Interstate 275 called the Metro Trail and it has the trail go under the overpasses and on ramps.

I view the bikes and pedestrians taking Machanicsville Turnpike as revolting angst the dominant life form in Richmond the car.

Michael Morgan-Dodson
Michael Morgan-Dodson
11 days ago

Support the redevelopment but I wonder if you will see any push back from the surrounding neighborhood with the rezonings increase in density?

Doug Johnson
Doug Johnson
10 days ago

That’s a thought but I don’t think so if they didn’t complain about the townhouses/apartment development at Henrico Plaza and the townhouses that were built across the street from Henrico Plaza. The apartment phase would just replace the raggedy apartments already there (those apartments have been raggedy for 40+ years). I would think the community would be happy to see those raggedy buildings go.

My question would be how it would impact the nearby elementary schools. They may have to shift zones again between Ashe, Ratcliffe and Harvie elementary schools.

Last edited 10 days ago by Doug Johnson
Doug Johnson
Doug Johnson
10 days ago
Reply to  Doug Johnson

I also want to add, they are building 2 new neighborhoods where the Glenwood Lakes golf course used to be, so Henrico might have have to reconfigure the school zones over there anyway.

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
10 days ago

I’m glad they are not cutting down forest land to build these 1,000 units of housing and are reusing a older part of town. This is good from a tax basis in that water and sewer and streets have already been paid for.

They need to let this project expand towards Route 360 in that replacing these single family homes with town homes and small apartments really adds to the housing supply without cutting down trees.

But they do need to ramp up sidewalk funding in this area.

Doug Johnson
Doug Johnson
10 days ago

I don’t think they are replacing single family homes, just the raggedy apartments that are already there. I don’t think the community would stand for tearing down their their single family homes to be replaced with a townhouse. The houses may be very modest but it’s their home.

Michael Boyer
Michael Boyer
9 days ago
Reply to  Doug Johnson

I am familiar and know where these raggedy apt buildings are.I just wanted to voice my opinion about bike lanes that somebody brought up.I think sidewalks are more important than a nice protective bike lane.I know of some bike lanes that are never used.I could care less where these apts are,but Mechanicsville and Laburnum intersections do need upgrades,at least the last time I was over there.