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Walton International Group buys remainder of Sherwood property in Stafford County
BY BILL FREEHLING
A Canadian land investment company closed on the rest of the Sherwood Forest Farm property in southern Stafford County yesterday for about $14.1 million.
In October, an LLC of Walton International Group bought the first 355 acres of the Sherwood property, which is on the north side of State Route 3 near the Little Falls Run wastewater treatment plant, from an entity of the Silver Cos. for $3.55 million, or $10,000 an acre.
The previous purchase included land to the north of a Dahlgren spur rail line that runs through the property. The other 529 acres, which Walton bought yesterday for $14,138,743, or $26,727 an acre, is between State Route 3 and the rail line.
The higher price per acre is due to the fact that the second parcel has more than a mile of frontage on State Route 3, a new sanitary sewer pump station and sewer-line improvements, said Ed Minniear, Silver's president of residential development.
Late last year, Walton also bought the 304-acre Springfield Farm property, which is adjacent to Sherwood, for $10,000 an acre. The company now owns about 1,190 acres in the area and is reportedly seeking more.
The land is zoned agricultural. Walton hasn't revealed many details about its ultimate plans other than to say it expects to develop the property over time into a mixed-use subdivision. The firm has said it likes Stafford's proximity to Washington, access to key transportation and educated work force.
Walton executives believe more housing will be needed in Stafford. The firm typically buys property in growth areas such as Atlanta, Dallas and Phoenix.
Walton has already sold shares in the northern Sherwood parcel to Asian investors through a tenants-in-common arrangement. The investors bought fractional stakes in the overall property at $10,000 a share.
Walton broke the North Sherwood property into 1,933 shares, meaning the company would gross $19.3 million if all the shares are sold--or more than five times what it paid. Walton says the premium covers the firm's expenses leading to the sale of the land to a developer, including taxes, planning and titling. The firm typically keeps 5 to 10 percent of the shares itself.
Each individual purchase by Asian investors has led to a deed being filed in Stafford Circuit Court, which has kept the staff there busy. But staffers say the flow has slowed of late, perhaps indicating that Walton is done with sales of the first piece.
It's unclear whether or when Walton will begin selling stakes in the other parcels, but that is how the company has structured many deals in its 31-year history. Company officials have declined comment, saying U.S. securities laws don't allow them to discuss it.
Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405