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When?opoly

April 26, 2012 12:10 am

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It's When?opoly time again, when we try to bring readers up to date on various projects around the Fredericksburg area.

This year, an anticipated rebound in the housing market is the driving force in several efforts.

The Clift Farm Quarter and Embrey Mill projects in Stafford County join the When?opoly list, the Haven apartment developments are moving along, and there are plans for work to begin on Amelia Square, to name a few.

As always, some projects have hit rough patches. The State Fair filed for bankruptcy, but it still could be bought before next month's auction. The odds on the Kalahari waterpark and hotel complex becoming reality seem to be getting longer.

But every time something doesn't pan out, something else seems to fill the void. Eagle Village is forging ahead, with a new hotel in its near future. The Spotsylvania VRE station and all the growth expected in its shadow seem to be on pace. The Falmouth interchange project appears to finally be more than a wish. The downtown court building is coming closer to reality.

As the economy claws its way out of the worst recession of most of our lives, every project won't succeed, but a lot of them will. We salute all the efforts.

--Howard Owen

AMELIA SQUARE

The story so far: In April 2010 the Silver Cos. unveiled plans for the 20-unit, high-end Amelia Square townhouse development in downtown Fredericksburg. It's bordered by Amelia, Winchester and William streets. Since then the development group has torn down the former Fredericksburg Hardware store and tried to sell the homes amid an economic downturn.

Outlook: Silver officials say the site work could begin around July 1, with the first four townhouses started not long after that. Silver agents are also working to attract users to a planned 10,000-square-foot multi-tenant retail building fronting William Street.

--Bill Freehling

CARMEL CHURCH STATION

The story so far: Caroline County's Board of Supervisors in June 2010 approved a rezoning to allow the mixed-use Carmel Church Station development. Plans call for a train station, pedestrian-oriented center with residential and commercial development, school, library and regional park on nearly 1,100 acres between U.S. 1 and Interstate 95 near Exit 104. Build-out of the project could take at least 20 years.

Outlook: Brothers Litt and Tommy Thompson of Virginia Land Investments in Richmond own the property, which for now is mostly in the planning stages. Litt Thompson said Carmel Church Station is gaining traction as a transit-oriented development. He said there has been interest from the Department of Defense, other federal agencies, corporations and national and international land developers.

--Bill Freehling

CLIFT FARM QUARTER

The story so far: National homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc. is asking Stafford County to rezone 141 acres just south of the intersection of U.S. 1 and Eskimo Hill Road for the Clift Farm Quarter development. The land is east of Stafford Regional Airport and west of the Rappahannock Regional Landfill.

Outlook: Clift Farm Quarter would be Stafford's largest rezoning in nearly a decade. It would include 585 residential units and a commercial component. Part of the proffers would include 262 acres to become 15 irrigated, rectangular fields. The matter will be back before the Stafford Board of Supervisors on May 1.

--Bill Freehling

COBBLESTONE SQUARE

The story so far: Since Home Properties Inc. began accepting applications last August, The Apartments at Cobblestone Square off Lafayette Boulevard has preleased or leased 139 of the 314 Class A apartments that have been built or are under construction.

Outlook: Property manager Jennifer Marsh's goal is to have the first three of the complex's planned six buildings 95 percent completed and leased by the end of October.

--Cathy Jett

COURTHOUSE

The story so far: After years of planning, the City Council approved a $31.9 million contract with First Choice Public-Private Partners to build the facility at the corner of Princess Anne and Charlotte streets. The City Council also approved a multimillion-dollar bond issue to pay for the courthouse facilities. The new courthouse will be 78,500 square feet, which is much bigger than the total of the three current buildings.

Outlook: The city received the necessary approvals from the Architectural Review Board to demolish the Savage building at 707 Princess Anne St. and the existing Judicial and Domestic Relations Court at 701 Princess Anne St. and build the new courthouse there. The demolition could begin as early as summer. Work is currently under way to construct interim court facilities for the J&DR Court in Executive Plaza.

--Robyn Sidersky

EAGLE VILLAGE

The story so far: The University of Mary Washington Foundation has already transformed the U.S. 1 corridor in Fredericksburg with the first phase of its Eagle Village mixed-use development. A pedestrian bridge spans U.S. 1, and there is retail, office and student apartment space in red-brick buildings.

Outlook: Phase two of the project will begin soon with the start of construction on a 95-room Hyatt Place hotel. The retail space between (but not including) the Giant grocery store over to the road cutting through Eagle Village from College Avenue will be demolished for the hotel. A road connecting Eagle Village and the Mary Washington Hospital campus was also recently completed.

--Bill Freehling

EMBREY MILL

The story so far: Newland Real Estate Group and North America Sekisui House (NASH) in January purchased 831 acres in Stafford County's planned Embrey Mill subdivision. Over time the partners plan to develop about 1,800 housing lots at Embrey Mill, which is just west of Interstate 95 between Courthouse and Garrisonville roads. The joint venture is also responsible for extending Mine Road as a four-lane divided road from where it ends at Austin Ridge Drive all the way to Courthouse Road.

Outlook: Nash Stafford LLC, as the joint venture is known, plans to start developing Embrey Mill by the end of June subject to receiving the necessary permits. The developer anticipates having finished lots for home builders to start models early next year, and for the general public to buy homes by the middle of 2013.

--Bill Freehling

FALL HILL AVENUE PROJECT

The story so far: Three projects are slated for Fall Hill Avenue--the canal bridge replacement, Fall Hill Avenue widening and Interstate 95 bridge replacement, and the extension of Mary Washington Boulevard to Fall Hill.

First up is the canal bridge. This project will replace the current structure with a two-lane bridge with sidewalks. The bridge will be elevated to allow for a pedestrian path to go beneath it. The gravel lot will be paved.

Another, much bigger project is the Fall Hill widening and bridge replacement project. This project will widen Fall Hill to four lanes from the canal bridge to the western end of the I-95 bridge.

The Mary Washington Boulevard project will extend that road to Fall Hill Avenue.

Outlook: Work on the canal bridge replacement, estimated to cost between $2.86 million and slightly more than $3 million, is scheduled to start in January 2013 and end in November 2013.

The Fall Hill widening and I-95 bridge replacement timeline is not clear at this point, but a public hearing is planned for this summer. The Virginia Department of Transportation will assume control of the project from Fredericksburg at that point.

VDOT plans to acquire right-of-way property in 2014 with construction possibly beginning in 2015. There is no estimate on how long the project will take.

The Mary Washington Boulevard extension could be done at the same time as the Fall Hill widening, but that has not yet been determined.

--Scott Shenk

FALMOUTH INTERSECTION

The story so far: The infamous intersection has been a pain for decades, and plenty of fixes have been bandied about.

Now it finally looks like the intersection will be fixed.

The $25 million project will add eight turn lanes to the four-way intersection at U.S. 1, U.S. 17 and Butler Road. New medians, stone walls and trees also will be added to the intersection.

Outlook: The project's design has been approved by federal transportation authorities, and the Virginia Department of Transportation is working on acquiring 27 properties around the intersection. VDOT plans to have the properties cleared by the end of this year.

Construction could begin by early 2014. The project is expected to take 18 to 24 months to complete.

--Scott Shenk

GERMANNA'S STAFFORD CAMPUS

The story so far: In 2009, Germanna Community College's Stafford County Center at Aquia Park opened, attracting 1,000 students its first year. The county's Economic Development Authority awarded GCC a matching challenge grant of up to $1 million on May 5, 2011, to be used toward the establishment of a permanent campus. EDA officials said the intent was to support workforce development and economic development in the county.

Outlook: Germanna continues to seek land for a full, permanent campus in Stafford County. The college would like to locate the campus, which it expects to serve 10,000 students, in the Courthouse area. GCC hopes to find a donor for the approximately 50 acres needed for a campus. If it doesn't, it must raise a total of $2.5 million to fund the cost of the facility's land and development. The college has to meet that threshold locally before the state funds the rest of the total cost of the campus, estimated at roughly $25 million.

--Mike Zitz

HAVEN APARTMENT PROJECTS

The story so far: South Carolina-based Johnson Development Associates continues to actively invest in the Fredericksburg-area apartment market. The company sold its 232-unit Haven complex in Celebrate Virginia South for $39.4 million late last year to MAA, a real-estate investment trust based in Memphis, Tenn. The complex has since been renamed Seasons at Celebrate Virginia.

Outlook: Johnson Development plans to have its 260-unit Haven complex near the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center done by Labor Day, with the first units ready by early June. The company plans to start a second, 250-unit phase at Celebrate Virginia South by the end of April and have it finished by Spring 2013.

--Bill Freehling

I-95 INTERCHANGES

The story so far: Many Interstate 95 projects are in the works in the Fredericksburg area, including extending HOV/HOT lanes nine miles from Dumfries in Prince William County to Garrisonville in North Stafford and building new off-ramps at the Virginia Welcome Center in Fredericksburg and the Massaponax exit.

Outlook: Construction on the HOV/HOT lanes project will probably start later this year. Proposals to create a new off-ramp from the Virginia Welcome Center into Celebrate Virginia South, as well as one to add a connection into Southpoint II from the southbound Massaponax exit, remain up in the air.

--Bill Freehling

KALAHARI RESORT

The story so far: Wisconsin-based Kalahari Resorts, amid much fanfare, announced plans in November 2007 for a massive, $260 million waterpark-focused resort and conference center in Fredericksburg's Celebrate Virginia South. Soon thereafter the global recession started, and the project has been unable to get off the ground.

Outlook: Whether the project will ever happen is now in question. Kalahari's owner has said the project is shelved until capital markets allow affordable financing for large projects such as this.

--Bill Freehling

KING GEORGE GATEWAY

The story so far: A 155,000-square-foot Walmart opened in King George Gateway off U.S. 301 on Aug. 17, 2011, and the University of Mary Washington's Dahlgren Center for Education and Research opened in January. The shopping center also has an Auto Zone, Community Bank of Tri-County, Five Guys, GameStop, Virginia ABC store and Verizon Wireless.

Outlook: Hair Cuttery has signed a lease for space in the first phase of the shopping center, but no date has been set for its opening.

Phase I of the shopping center still has 2,200 square feet of space left in one building and 2,800 square feet in another. That space can be divided into 1,600-square-foot and 1,200-square-foot stores. There also are three pad sites available.

Construction on Phase II of the center is expected to begin next year. It will have about 65,000 square feet of retail space.

--Cathy Jett

KING GEORGE GREENHOUSE

The story so far: An affiliate of GE Energy Financial Services started trying to sell a 42-acre greenhouse near the Birchwood power plant in King George County in 2007, not long after an operation growing hydroponic tomatoes shut down there.

Outlook: Late last year, Spotsylvania County resident Marcel Vyverberg and business partners bought the greenhouse. They have since been cleaning it up and hope to have space to lease growers of flowers, vegetables and more by late this year.

--Bill Freehling

McKESSON PROJECT IN CAROLINE

The story so far: McKesson Corp. was building a 340,000-square-foot distribution center in the Carmel Church area. The San Francisco-based pharmaceutical and medical supply company planned to fully occupy it last November and begin operations in February or March.

Outlook: McKesson held the ribbon cutting for the distribution center on April 17.

--Cathy Jett

NEW POST SOCCER FIELDS

The story so far: The Fredericksburg Area Soccer Association and the Virginia Youth Soccer Association have taken ownership of 80 acres of open land at New Post, where they plan to build 16 international-class, regulation-size soccer fields.

FASA already has secured Kellogg as its the first major sponsor. Field 11 will be named Kellogg's Field 11.

Outlook: The two organizations plan to start development for the $3.5 million to $4.5 million project this spring and have it ready for games in 2013. The fields will initially be planted in Bermuda grass, but at least one field will be converted to turf when funds are available.

Spotsylvania Sportsplex, as it will be known, also will include a 25,000-square-foot building that will house VYSA's corporate offices, and there will be a pavilion with a concession stand and bathrooms.

When completed, the Sportsplex is expected to be the largest such complex in the state. All state cup, Olympic Development Program and regional events will be held there, and it will be a potential training site for national teams.

--Cathy Jett

NEW YMCAs

The story so far: The Rappahannock Area YMCA announced last year that it plans to build a 42,000-square-foot facility, complete with an indoor pool, fitness center, gymnasium and exercise rooms, in Caroline County by this fall. It also has long wanted to build a 78,000-square-foot YMCA in North Stafford.

Outlook: Thurston Cos. of Manassas has been hired to build the Caroline County YMCA. A ceremonial groundbreaking was held in December, and the facility is expected to be completed by February 2013. Once that is done, the YMCA will turn its focus to building a Y in North Stafford.

--Cathy Jett

NI VILLAGE

The story so far: Late last year, Spotsylvania County's Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning for the 333-acre Ni Village, a proposed development of condos, shops, offices, pedestrian trails and restaurants on U.S. 1 near Massaponax High School.

Outlook: Ni Village developer Luck Development Partners says the project will take 20 years to complete. The first phase of the project, whose timing will be market dependent, will focus on the Advanced Center for Sustainability and Green technologies (formerly known as the Smith Mill Education Center) and a partnership with the National Academy of Environmental Design.

--Bill Freehling

OLD DOMINION SPEEDWAY

The story so far: The owners of Old Dominion Speedway in Prince William County may be eyeing the Fredericksburg region as a new home for their automobile racetrack. The stockcar and drag-racing facility in Manassas is hemmed in by residential developments, leading to frequent noise complaints from neighbors.

Outlook: Principal owner Steve Britt is looking for a new home for the track on at least 80 acres along the Interstate 95 corridor between Stafford County and Richmond, but he hasn't specified an exact location. The speedway will remain at its current home at least through the 2013 season, which runs from March through October.

--Bill Freehling

RAPPAHANNOCK PARKWAY

The story so far: The Rappahannock Parkway is part of a $300 million project aimed at fixing congestion along the Interstate 95 corridor in Fredericksburg, Stafford and Spotsylvania.

But the parkway was put on the back burner after residents and three new Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors members opposed it.

The parkway portion of the project would connect to a new Fredericksburg exit at the welcome center on I-95, run through Celebrate Virginia South, continue west between State Route 3 and the Rappahannock River and tap back into Route 3 near Gordon Road. Plans call for a possible toll on the parkway.

Outlook: The Spotsylvania supervisors and residents have vehemently opposed the parkway, but it remains part of the overall plan in the federally funded project.

There is $14.8 million set aside for design and analysis of the project, including the parkway. That work, which will take about four years, has yet to start. No specific date has been set.

Once the design and analysis are done, work could start on the I-95 portion of the project, if it gets funding.

Nothing will be done on the rest area interchange or parkway unless the Spotsylvania supervisors change their stance.

--Scott Shenk

RIVERFRONT PARK

The story so far: Fredericksburg has planned for a riverfront park for decades. A few years ago, the city began buying land for a park on the riverfront at Sophia and Charlotte streets. The city has acquired the Prince Hall Masonic Lodge 61 property for $925,000 and plans to expand the park. The popular Lunch in the Park program was moved there last summer, but this year the event will move back to Hurkamp Park.

Outlook: A review of the current and long-range plans for the park will occur in the coming months between city staff and the Riverfront Task Force. City Manager Beverly Cameron has allocated $200,000 in his proposed 2013 budget for planning and design, another $2 million in fiscal year 2017 for construction.

--Robyn Sidersky

U.S. 17 CORRIDOR IN STAFFORD COUNTY

The story so far: Sumner Partners of Bethesda, Md., has cleared 26.12 acres opposite the Walmart on U.S. 17 in Stafford for Falls Run, a shopping center with six freestanding sites for retail and possibly office space.

The developer also has begun work on Stafford Lakes Shopping Center on a small parcel next to the Walmart. It has two freestanding sites for such things as a bank or fast-food restaurant, and several "inline" stores, or stores with common walls.

Berea Marketplace, which is adjacent to the traffic signal for Stafford Lakes Parkway, has a Union First Market branch. Aldi, ABC Phones and 7-Eleven have signed leases for space there.

Outlook: KLNB Retail, a commercial real estate services company working for Sumner, is seeing interest from both pad users and inline retailers for Falls Run and Stafford Lakes, but no leases have been signed. ABC Phones, Aldi and 7-Eleven are expected to open in Berea Marketplace this year.

--Cathy Jett

SPOTSYLVANIA COURTHOUSE VILLAGES

The story so far: Last year W.J. Vakos & Co. sold Spotsylvania a three-story, 54,810-square-foot office building at Courthouse Village for $10 million. The county had been leasing space there for its planning, zoning and social services departments.

The mixed-use development, which is near the county's courthouses and government center, is billed as the county's only downtown. Besides office space, it includes retail stores, apartments and the Spotsylvania County Museum.

Outlook: Developer Bill Vakos III said the company plans to construct seven buildings totaling 87,000 square feet. Five will be located at the intersection of Old Battlefield Boulevard and the State Route 208 Bypass, and will be geared toward retail tenants. They're 50 percent pre-leased and are expected to be ready by next spring.

The company also plans a five-story, 60,000-square-foot building that will front on Merchant Square. The first floor will have an arcade and lobby, public restrooms and about 10,000 square feet for restaurants and retail.

The top four floors of the 60-foot-tall building will have 54 apartments with balconies overlooking the square. Underground parking is being studied for the building, which is expected to be ready by the spring of 2014.

SPOTSYLVANIA TOWNE CENTRE AND THE VILLAGE AT TOWNE CENTRE

The story so far: Sunny's Eco Wash will hold its grand opening and ribbon cutting Friday at the site of the demolished Aztlan Mexican Restaurant in front of Spotsylvania Towne Centre. White House/Black Market will open in mid-May in a 4,200-square-foot space near Coldwater Creek and The Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille in The Village, and HomeGoods will open May 20 in the former Haverty's location on the grounds of the mall.

Outlook: The mall is now about 99 percent leased, and there are only three large vacancies left in The Village. These can be subdivided into nine smaller stores. At least one space is spoken for, and negotiations are under way with other retailers.

--Cathy Jett

SPOTSYLVANIA VRE STATION

The story so far: After years of battles, Spotsylvania County joined the Virginia Railway Express in 2010 with an eye toward getting a station so residents could conveniently use the commuter rail service.

The Crossroads Industrial Park off the U.S. 17 bypass was pegged as the site for the station and a 2.6-mile third track that will connect with the main tracks.

Outlook: The $20.3 million project is tentatively scheduled to be finished in the second half of 2013.

The project recently hit a potential issue when the state and CSX wanted to include upgrades to the third track as part of a bigger, high-speed rail project.

It appears any problems have been resolved, though, and the station and third track are "still on target to meet our time deadline," according to VRE spokesman Mark Roeber.

--Scott Shenk

STATE FAIR

The story so far: The State Fair of Virginia declared bankruptcy late last year after being unable to make its payments on an $85 million loan it took out to develop the Meadow Event Park in Caroline into its new home. A deal fell through that would have allowed a Virginia business to buy the site and lease the land back to the State Fair.

Outlook: The bondholders on May 22 will auction the Meadow Event Park and all the State Fair's equipment and intellectual property. However, a buyer could be found before the auction date, and this year's State Fair has not been completely ruled out.

--Bill Freehling

STATE ROUTE 3 WIDENING

The story so far: The $25.1-million project will widen State Route 3 from four to six lanes from Chewning Lane and Rutherford Drive to Gordon Road, which will match it up with the rest of the highway in that area.

Work started in October 2003 and was slated to be completed on July 24 of this year.

But numerous problems have caused delays in the project.

First, in June 2011, the contractor, Henderson Construction Co., cut utilities lines in the work zone, resulting in a stop-work order.

Before work started again, businesses in the area disputed the project design, which resulted in alternatives being floated about.

Outlook: The design dispute has been settled, but work mostly remains set on pause while utilities on the westbound side of Route 3 are moved.

The road work can't start again until the utilities are moved. It's unclear how long that will take.

If there are no more problems, though, the project could be finished by March or April 2013.

--Scott Shenk

SUNSHINE BALLPARK

The story so far: Two of three fields in the park, a joint project of the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and the city of Fredericksburg, have opened. Ability Field, which is for children with special needs, hosted its first Challenger Division games on March 24. Griffith Field began hosting Little League games on April 23.

Outlook: The Fredericksburg Area Youth Development Foundation is raising funds to buy turf for Ponce De Leon Field, which has been graded and is covered with grass.

Construction of the final portion of the project, the Exploration Command Center, should be finished in mid-May, and open this summer. Students will begin using it this fall to actively participate in the scientific, deep sea exploration of the Jason Project, an initiative of the Ballard Institute for Exploration.

--Cathy Jett

TOWN CENTER AT AQUIA

The story so far: Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust is in the process of transforming Aquia Town Center in Stafford from a 200,000-square-foot grocery-anchored shopping center into a 725,000-square-foot mixed-use development featuring offices, high-end apartments, retail shops, restaurants, entertainment and a fitness center.

Outlook: The project has been slowed by the economic downturn, but Ramco-Gershenson continues to work hard internally on moving the project forward, according to spokeswoman Dawn Hendershot.

--Cathy Jett




AMELIA SQUARE

COULD BEGIN JULY 1

CARMEL CHURCH STATION

PLANNING STAGES

CLIFT FARM QUARTER

TO STAFFORD BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MAY 1

COBBLESTONE SQUARE

LEASING BY OCT.

COURTHOUSE

WORK MAY START IN SUMMER

EAGLE VILLAGE

HOTEL TO BE BUILT

EMBREY MILL

PLANS CALL FOR END-OF-JUNE STARTS; HOMES BY MIDDLE OF 2013

FALL HILL AVENUE PROJECT

CANAL BRIDGE WORK JAN. 2013

FALMOUTH INTERSECTION

CONSTRUCTION BY EARLY 2014

GERMANNA'S STAFFORD CAMPUS

SEARCHING FOR LAND NOW

HAVEN APARTMENT PROJECTS

1st UNITS IN JUNE; DONE LABOR DAY

I-95 INTERCHANGES

HOV/HOT LANES WORK STARTS LATER THIS YEAR

KALAHARI RESORT

PROJECT SHELVED FOR NOW

KING GEORGE GATEWAY

PHASE II SET TO START NEXT YEAR

KING GEORGE GREENHOUSE

LEASING SPACE LATE 2012

McKESSON PROJECT IN CAROLINE

OPENED APRIL 17

NEW POST SOCCER FIELDS

READY FOR GAMES IN 2013

NEW YMCAs

CAROLINE: FEB. 2013; N. STAFFORD: TO COME

NI VILLAGE

DEPENDS ON AREA ECONOMY

OLD DOMINION SPEEDWAY

LOOKING FOR LAND; CURRENT LOCATION TROUGH 2013 SEASON

RAPPAHANNOCK PARKWAY

NO DATE SET

RIVERFRONT PARK

CONSTRUCTION IS TARGETED FOR 2017

U.S. 17 CORRIDOR IN STAFFORD COUNTY

STORES OPENING THIS YEAR

SPOTSYLVANIA COURTHOUSE VILLAGES

NEXT SPRING

SPOTSYLVANIA TOWNE CENTRE AND THE VILLAGE AT TOWNE CENTRE

MALL IS NOW 99 PERCENT LEASED; NEW STORES OPENING IN MAY

SPOTSYLVANIA VRE STATION

DONE BY LATE 2013

STATE FAIR

AUCTION MAY 22; A FAIR FOR THIS YEAR IS IFFY

STATE ROUTE 3 WIDENING

MARCH OR APRIL 2013

SUNSHINE BALLPARK

FINAL PORTION OPEN IN SUMMER

TOWN CENTER AT AQUIA

SLOWED DUE TO ECONOMY




Copyright 2014 The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company.