July 29, 2022 11
The Lake mixed-use development is planned to feature a 6-acre surf pool and 13-acre lake in addition to retail, restaurant and office space. (Images courtesy of Flatwater Cos.)
A water-centric mixed-use development years in the making appears primed to get a boost from Chesterfield County.
The Chesterfield Board of Supervisors is expected in August to vote on a proposed grant performance agreement for “The Lake,” a 105-acre mixed-use development from the Flatwater Cos. that would feature a surf pool and recreational lake. The development is currently expected to cost $323 million.
This week the board decided to defer a decision on the agreement until its August meeting to allow additional time to review the proposal, though no supervisors voiced opposition to the performance agreement during last week’s meeting.
The agreement between the county, its economic development authority and Lake Adventures LLC (an entity tied to Flatwater Cos.) would provide around $27 million to $28 million in incentives, Deputy County Administrator Matt Harris said during the board’s meeting.
Per the agreement, the county would award grant funding to Lake Adventures in the form of 80 percent of the increase in real estate, sales and occupancy taxes generated by the property’s commercial and entertainment development on the property, over the property’s baseline value, for the first year through the 10th year of the agreement.
The baseline value would be the amount of real estate and sales taxes collected on the property in 2022. Payments would come annually, commencing on the performance date and continuing each fiscal year until the grant is paid.
Lake Adventures would get 60 percent of money generated through those taxes on commercial and entertainment portions of the property for years 11 to 20.
Additionally, Lake Adventures would get 40 percent of the increase in real estate, sales and occupancy taxes collected on two 300-unit, mixed-use apartment buildings over the baseline value for 20 years after the commencement of the performance date.
“There are two mixed-use residential buildings and we have as an organization encouraged projects to have structured parking, to have buildings where there is a multi-family component to not just have that but certainly to have some commercial first-floor retail, those kinds of things to intermix those to make sure the precious land we have is used in the most intensive fashion,” Harris said.
The residential-only portions of the project aren’t included in the proposed grant agreement.
The Lake’s grant agreement isn’t the only such arrangement the county supervisors have weighed in recent months. In April, the board tweaked a grant performance agreement tied to Courthouse Landing in light of VCU Health’s plans to build an outpatient facility and offices there.
That month the board also approved an amended performance agreement with Shamin Hotels for its project at the Stonebridge mixed-use development, which extended from 20 years to up to 40 years the time Shamin will get hospitality tax rebates due to a larger project scope and increased construction costs, according to a post on the county’s blog “Chesterfield On Point.”
Harris said such grant agreements are used sparingly by the county to support projects deemed of particular importance. In this case, the Lake development would bring recreational amenities, restaurants and a hotel to the area around the River City Sportsplex.
In addition to recreational water amenities, the Lake mixed-use development in Chesterfield County is planned to have 250,000 square feet of commercial and office space and up to 1,190 residential units.
“In Chesterfield County we work out a deal proportionate to whatever the project is and they get a portion of that income stream back over time. Each deal is really set on a unique basis depending on the attributes of that project,” Harris said. “It’s an entertainment district unlike anything on the East Coast and again certainly has that interplay with our holdings at River City.”
County officials have sought to up the ante in and around the Sportsplex, which is a 115-acre facility for youth sports tournaments located where Route 288 meets Powhite Parkway. The sports complex is slated for millions in improvements, and county staff are working on a land-use plan to guide development in the immediate area to make the venue more desirable for youth sports tournaments.
“We have a leakage factor, if you will, of people who come to that area, River City most notably, and then leave the area after their sporting events to go outside the county. Once they leave the county for the day after the tournament, they don’t come back to eat, they don’t use the hotels and things of that nature,” County Administrator Joe Casey said at this week’s board meeting.
The Lake project is required to be built within 36 months of the project receiving the operation and maintenance certificate from the state for the development’s anchor lake feature or when the company notifies the EDA that it is ready to commence the grant payments, whichever comes first.
“The last thing we want to do is have a large effort like this sit idle over time. I think from the fact we’re trying to encourage this to get out of the gate … and if it were to run into some kind of issue, which we don’t anticipate, we have those safeguards in the backend as well. So a number of things have been incorporated into this grant agreement you wouldn’t necessarily see in other grant agreements given the economic conditions we’re in and the specifics of this project,” Harris said.
The Lake is zoned for up to 1,190 residential units, and Brett Burkhart of Flatwater Cos. expects the project would be eventually built out to take advantage of that limit. The project’s proposed residential side grew by 400 units last year.
The development is expected to have 250,000 square feet of office, retail, entertainment and restaurant uses, though a specific breakdown hasn’t yet been determined, Burkhart said. A 170-bed hotel is planned.
Lake Adventures is required to build at least 20,000 square feet of commercial and entertainment space before it can start on residential development.
The development is planned to feature a 6-acre surf pool and a 13-acre recreational lake.
Conversations with potential tenants are underway, though Burkhart declined to share names. He said a mixture of national and local brands have expressed interest in the development, outdoorsy brands in particular.
“We found we’ve attracted people and brands that align themselves with outdoor and adventure family lifestyles. That really seems to be our core target of who we went after and who are interested,” Burkhart said.
Tree removal on a 55-acre section of the project site began in July. Earlier this year an entrance road and upgraded utilities were installed, Burkhart said. He hopes to see the project start to go vertical in the spring.
English Construction is the general contractor. Timmons Group and Rummel Klepper & Kahl are handling engineering. Liquid Design is the lead architecture firm on the project.
Jack joined BizSense in 2020, covering startups, retail, healthcare, public companies and nonprofits. He previously reported for the Virginia Gazette and Tidewater Review. He is a graduate of Christopher Newport University. Reach him at [email protected] or 804-554-6545.
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It’s an exciting project and I can see the county providing some tax incentives to boost the entertainment components of it. I’m not as enthusiastic for providing the high in demand MF component with that advantage over other competitive apartment developments. There are nearly 4000 apartments in the pipeline. If they can’t afford to build them, so be it.
This sounds exciting for Chesterfield and I’m surprised they need to give so much of a financial incentive.
Because it is a pipe dream; Charlotte’s own park is still in planning. No large surf park is this LARGE. It will be the biggest in the world. And in a teir-3 city’s suburbs. Given rising borrowing rate and construction prices, I think we are looking at SportsQuest 2.0. At least the wave pool looks to be built early so when it goes into foreclosure Chesterfield will not have any bonds but probably can but it like SportQuest and make some good use of the site.
I would like to know why there is no new 288 interchange at Genito Road to aid in this development surge as well as the other recent comp plan case that also considers reworking the surrounding areas of the former Southside Speedway. Was there a previous mention of that VDOT improvement I may have missed?
Better yet, how will the county account for a traditional cloverleaf exchange at Charter Colony and Powhite Parkway (current Powhite terminus) once the Powhite Parkway extension has been constructed? At present, the Southwest corner of this intersection is occupied by the Colony Crossing SC.
Did I miss where in this article it mentions the specific location? If it’s 105 acres, something tells me they’d have that determined by now. Kind of a key detail to omit, no?
Alan, its across Rte. 288 from River City SportsPlex (NW corner of 288 and Genito Rd.
Why does our region keep building these fake TODs, way out in the suburbs, with no actual transit connections? Why are the counties still stuck in these 1970s development patterns? It’s so depressing to see something as vibrant and interesting as this proposed, knowing that there will be absolutely no way to get there without a car.
Agreed, and i don’t understand at al why the government needs to give these people tax dollars
I really hope that this 28 million goes towards road and sidewalk improvements in the area in that a lot of the roads in this area have not been changed for over 20 years. Also a lot of them lack sidewalks.
To me, the lack of opposition to this financing plan clearly shows the anti-City bias by the larger Richmond community. This is the exact same type of financing that the City wanted to do to build a new coliseum. There everyone screamed, in this case (for a big wave pool) crickets. Is that simply because no one really cares about Chesterfield or because people like to pick on the City?
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