Construction crews are working to carve a new apartment complex into the landscape on Charter Colony Parkway in Chesterfield County, making way for Sapphire at CenterPointe, where road signs point in the direction of a future pocket park and a saltwater pool for renters.
“We’ve got about 20 residents there [at Sapphire] right now, and we are still under construction,” said Hal Yuill, the vice president of Robinson Development Group, which is building the 192-unit Sapphire community. “We expect to wrap up construction towards the end of the fourth quarter of this year.”
The Sapphire apartment complex is just one part of the 750-acre CenterPointe development that is taking shape near the Powhite Parkway and state Route 288. Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center, one of the key drivers of development in the fast-growing part of northwest Chesterfield, sits in the middle of the CenterPointe development.
The units under construction at Sapphire will add to the 255 apartments at the Colony at CenterPointe, an apartment community that Robinson developed in 2016 on a neighboring property just to the north of Sapphire.
Just south from the Sapphire complex is where Ryan Homes is building CenterPointe Townes with 90 town houses, which the Reston-based builder said is the first brownstone product built in that area of Chesterfield. The 52 homes in the first phase will feature three-level brownstones with three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, two half-bathrooms, a two-car garage and a finished basement.
Across Charter Colony Parkway from CenterPointe Townes is another apartment community, this one totaling 344 units, coming to CenterPointe, said Chris Corrada, a principal at Riverstone Properties, the Richmond-based company that purchased the land for the CenterPointe development in the early 1990s.
The land for that project, just to north of the hospital and between Charter Colony Parkway and Center Pointe Parkway, was sold recently to Edward Rose, Corrada said.
Empty spots of land amid the wooded landscape bear development signs that hint at additional growth that’s coming to CenterPointe where lots of rooftops have already been built in recent years.
The CenterPointe area, zoned for roughly 1,900 homes and millions of square feet of commercial space decades ago, has been seeing a surge of building in the past couple of years, with about 1,000 housing units being built during that time, Corrada said.
“We’re designing it [CenterPointe] with urban design elements as high density as can be done in Chesterfield,” he said.
Although CenterPointe received zoning approvals in the late 1980s, the area did not really start to see significant growth until the construction of St. Francis hospital in the mid-2000s, Corrada said.
“When [Route] 288 and the hospital were built, that’s when CenterPointe really took off,” he said. “In the last 10 years, there’s been a lot that’s been going on.”
When Riverstone Properties bought the land for CenterPointe, Route 288 hadn’t been built yet, although it was being contemplated. State Route 288 opened in 2004.
Riverstone could see the land’s development potential, noting that nowadays with the access to Route 288 and the Powhite Parkway, CenterPointe residents can get to downtown Richmond in less than 20 minutes.
“Finding land that’s going to have good transportation located in the path of growth would be a goal of ours,” Corrada said.
Riverstone Properties is the real estate arm of Richmond businessman William H. Goodwin Jr.’s Riverstone Group, whose holdings include The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond and the three-building James Center complex off East Cary Street in downtown Richmond. It is a partner in the West Creek office park in Goochland County.
Yuill, the Robinson Development Group vice president, said a key draw for Sapphire residents is the quick access to Route 288, which stretches about 31 miles from Interstate 95 in southeastern Chesterfield to Interstate 64 in Goochland.
The county school system is another plus for residents, Yuill said.
“The hospital is right there,” he said. “There’s great access to jobs.”
Of the 192 units at Sapphire, half are two-bedroom apartments and about 75 are one-bedroom apartments, with the rest being three-bedroom units. Monthly rents start at $1,190 for a one-bedroom, $1,440 for a two-bedroom and $1,750 for a three-bedroom.
Across from the hospital campus, HHHunt developed the 273-unit Abberly at CenterPointe apartment complex off Brandermill Parkway.
While other apartment communities have been built at CenterPointe in recent years, new single-family subdivisions also have been built on other parts of development.
On the northeastern side of Route 288, for instance, is Queensgate, which has 75 homes, and Queensbluff, a 50-home subdivision.
North of Tomahawk Creek Middle School is CenterPointe Crossing, an 81-home subdivision near CenterPointe and Brandermill parkways.
CenterPointe Townes, the brownstones being built by Ryan Homes on Charter Colony Parkway, would have selling prices “from the $350s” and feature skyline terraces and stainless-steel appliances, according to its website.
Riverstone Properties chose Ryan Homes because of the builder’s experience in constructing town homes and because Ryan Homes is using the project to bring a new brownstone-style home to the Richmond area, Corrada said.
“The streets have a similar cross section to the streets in the Fan with 12-foot-wide landscaped medians, on-street parking, sidewalks and private alleys,” he said.
CenterPointe was originally envisioned to be the “Innsbrook of Chesterfield,” said Corrada, referring to the Innsbrook Corporate Center, the sprawling office park in Henrico County that began in the early 1980s and now has evolved to include more residential units.
CenterPointe, also envisioned for mixed-use potential, has taken an opposite approach to development.
It started with a lot of residential development, Corrada said. Of the 4 million square feet of commercial space at CenterPointe, perhaps several hundred thousands of square feet has been developed, adding the amount of commercial space built so far is “nowhere near the potential.”
Perhaps restaurants and coffee shops could be among the new occupants of the commercial space in CenterPointe, he added.
Among the upcoming projects is a 110,000-square-foot expansion at St. Francis Medical Center, which opened in September 2005.
The $119 million project will add 55 acute care, obstetrical and intensive care beds. It will build additional floors on top of its emergency department building and its inpatient bed tower.
Construction is expected to start in 2021, a hospital spokeswoman said.
County officials often refer to CenterPointe as “Chesterfield’s downtown,” Corrada said.
Chesterfield officials have long viewed it as a sleepy bedroom community that offers plenty of options for suburban living as well as rural landscapes in the southern part of the county, but has been lacking the kinds of more active settings where people can live, go to a restaurant and shop.
In last year’s update to the county’s comprehensive plan, Chesterfield officials envisioned the CenterPointe area becoming one of several potential “activity centers” that offer a regional mixed-use approach that meshes residential living with walkable areas that have restaurants and shopping.
The intersection of Route 288 and the Powhite Parkway, where CenterPointe is located, has been identified as an area that could have a more dense “town center” type of development, said Steven Haasch, a planning manager with Chesterfield.
The commercial zoning at CenterPointe was put into place decades ago when strip malls and big-box stores were the norm, Haasch said. The trend nowadays is toward developing entertainment venues and restaurants, he said.
Only about a third of the CenterPointe area has been developed so far, he said.
“There’s enough land out there [at CenterPointe] to be developed that it could be a little bit higher density, and a true town center for the county,” Haasch said.