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Developer proposes residential project in Spotsylvania County's Bowman Center

Developer proposes residential project in Spotsylvania County's Bowman Center

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Bowman Center rendering

An artist’s rendering shows the 525 apartments and 14,000 square feet of commercial space proposed for the Spotsylvania County Industrial Park.

A Richmond-based developer’s pitch to convert a section of the Spotsylvania County Industrial Park into a mix of apartments and commercial space has been filed with the Spotsylvania Planning Commission.

The plan calls for building up to 525 “multifamily” residences and a minimum of 14,000 square feet of commercial space in the industrial complex, off State Route 2 and U.S. 17 in Spotsylvania, just outside of Fredericksburg, according to documents filed with the county.

The developer, Monumental Companies, is seeking rezoning from industrial to mixed use for the project. Portions of the industrial complex, also known as the Bowman Center, are occupied, but numerous buildings are vacant.

Monumental has a background in developing similar industrial and historic areas, including in Richmond and Norfolk.

The Planning Commission held a work session last Wednesday, but no public hearings on the project have been held.

In the documents filed with the county, the developers describe the project as “a flexible approach to development, to include infill and redevelopment, by allowing a variety of interrelated and compatible commercial, office, residential, civic, recreational and entertainment uses in a pedestrian-oriented neighborhood setting.”

The company has already laid some initial groundwork by getting the industrial park added to the Virginia Landmarks Register, which could generate tax breaks. The site used to be home to the Sylvania Plant, where cellophane was manufactured from 1930 until 1978.

Charlie Payne, a local attorney representing Monument, said last week that the project “gives the county a unique opportunity to redevelop that site ... in a way that is more viable in the 21st-century economy.”

He said the apartments would all have one or two bedrooms, with the target being a younger generation that seeks more flexible living conditions where they have a range of options close to their homes.

According to the plans, the apartments would have a variety of layouts with rents ranging from $1,379 to $1,749 per month. Rent would also cover utilities, cable, high-speed internet and parking.

The developer touts numerous other benefits in its proposal.

Monument’s proposal says the project would fit in with the surrounding area’s “character” and would add to both the housing stock and commercial options.

The location, according to Monument, lies within the county’s Primary Development Boundary, where high-density development is appropriate. The company also said the project fits with the county’s comprehensive plan, and it is projected to bring in annual tax revenue of nearly $800,000.

Payne said the long-term investment could be a boon for the county, which owns more property in the industrial park.

According to Payne, the property Monument wants to develop has an assessed value of $3.2 million. He estimates that value would spike to $69 million if the project were completed.

The company also is offering to pay $1 million toward a project that would widen Route 2 and 17 in that area.

Monument commissioned a traffic study that determined the project would not degrade the road network once improvements are made. Along with the $1 million for the widening project, the company also is offering to add a right-turn lane at the entrance to the industrial park.

Payne said it’s possible a public hearing could be held with the Planning Commission in September.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436

sshenk@freelancestar.com

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