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S.C. developer plans apartment community
"High-end" apartment complex proposed for Celebrate Virginia South

Date published: 2/5/2010


A South Carolina-based developer plans a 232-unit luxury apartment community in Fredericksburg's Celebrate Virginia South.

The Haven at Celebrate Virginia would sit on 13.5 acres behind the Virginia Credit Union. The Silver Cos. now owns the land. An access road would connect the complex to Gordon W. Shelton Boulevard at an intersection with a traffic signal.

Johnson Development Associates Inc., which is based in Spartanburg, S.C., would buy the land and develop the complex. The firm has developed eight apartment complexes under the Haven brand name, mostly in South Carolina. This would be its first in Virginia.

The land's PD-C zoning requires Johnson Development and the Silver Cos. to get a special-use permit for the residential project. No more than 10 percent of the 541-acre Celebrate Virginia South complex can be residential. The Haven's 13.5 acres would be well under the 10 percent maximum.

Johnson Development submitted the special-use permit application this week to Fredericksburg's Planning Department, which will review the documents and decide whether they are complete enough to submit to the Planning Commission. The commission could consider the special-use permit as soon as March 10, according to city planning staff. The commission would then make a recommendation to City Council on the permit.

The special-use permit application describes a "luxury residential community" in a "resort-like setting." The gated community would have a pool, clubhouse, garages, a picnic area and fitness center, sidewalks and ample landscaping. The community's 10 buildings would feature HardiPlank siding, open floor plans and gourmet kitchens.

About 5 percent of the units would be three-bedroom, with the rest split about evenly between one- and two-bedroom apartments. The community would target young professionals--executives at the nearby Wegmans and proposed Kalahari Resorts, workers at the area's three hospitals, University of Mary Washington professors, Washington commuters and more.

Ben Graves, president of Johnson Development Associates' Multi-Family Division, said in an e-mail that the company is "thrilled by the possibility" of the Fredericksburg development. He said construction could begin by this summer.

Scott Little, Silver's project manager for Celebrate Virginia, said the planned community is the "perfect fit" for Celebrate Virginia and a "slam dunk for the region." He said it's about a $30 million development, and that Johnson has the financing lined up.

The proposed project comes at a time when the apartment market in the Fredericksburg region has been generally struggling along with the housing market. But Graves thinks the market will improve.

He said his firm is impressed with the Fredericksburg market's economic diversity, low unemployment rate, consistent rent growth, quality of life and proximity to Washington. He thinks the apartment market for young professionals is under-served, and that The Haven fills that need.

Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405
Email: bfreehling@freelancestar.com