Properties owned by Watkins Nurseries Inc., founded in 1876 and run by the fifth generation of the Watkins family, are slated to be sold at a foreclosure auction later this month.

A total of 342.3 acres of land in Chesterfield, Powhatan and Amelia counties — with a combined assessed value of $2.314 million — as well as vehicles and equipment owned by a sister company are scheduled to be sold at four different auctions at three locations on Feb. 20.

The auctions will be held on the courthouse steps in Chesterfield, Powhatan and Amelia.

Foreclosure notices were placed on Page D5 in the legal advertising section of Friday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Henrico County-based Dudley Resources is contracted to handle the foreclosure auctions on behalf of a bank that provided financing to the Watkins nursery and recycling businesses, said Tim Dudley, president of the real estate auction firm.

“The bank is foreclosing on it for lack of payment,” said Dudley, declining to name the bank.

Robert Watkins, the owner and president of Watkins Nurseries, could not be reached for comment.

His father, former state Sen. John Watkins, a Republican who represented Powhatan and Chesterfield counties for 34 years, said SonaBank has not sent a formal notice of foreclosure.

“We have not received any notice,” John Watkins said. “The law states you have to provide notice. My son is seeking legal advice.”

John Watkins said the two businesses — Watkins Nurseries and Virginia Resources Recycled LLC — have loans that are cross-collateralized, meaning the collateral for one loan also is used as collateral for another loan.

The original principal amount of the loan is $1.735 million that was recorded in a deed of trust dated April 28, 2017, according to the foreclosure notice.

“They have not been able to meet the notes. I think the nursery business is current,” John Watkins said about the loan.

Watkins Nurseries is open and continues to operate, he said.

The business was founded by J.B. Watkins as a small fruit tree farm in Powhatan County 144 years ago. It has grown to have more than 500 acres across central Virginia used in the production of field-grown, landscape-size plants, according to the company’s website.


The four auctions are slated to run starting at 10 a.m. on Feb. 20 with the last auction starting at 3:15 p.m. that day.

Here’s the auction lineup:

  • The first offering includes the property at 101 Dry Bridge Road in Chesterfield, where Watkins Nurseries has its headquarters. The property is about a half-mile from Midlothian Turnpike and is west of Westchester Commons.

That auction starts at 10 a.m. on the steps of the Chesterfield County Courthouse.

The 6.107-acre parcel includes a 6,230-square-foot office building, a 12,000-square-foot greenhouse and an 8,400-square-foot loading dock/material cover shed.

The property is assessed for $1.054 million.

The site is the current location of the company’s landscape contracting division as well as its business office and plant center.

  • The second offering includes the property at 4216 Worsham Road in Powhatan.

That auction begins at 1 p.m. in front of the Powhatan County Courthouse.

The 4.8-acre parcel includes a 2,640-square-foot office building and a 2,880-square-foot greenhouse. It is assessed at $267,000.

The farm is where the company’s greenhouse and propagation facilities are located as well as some field-grown resources.

  • The third offering is for the largest amount of land — 331.4 acres — in Amelia.

The auction is slated to start at 3 p.m. at the Amelia County Courthouse.

It includes two parcels at 11400 Winterham Road and 11601 Grub Hill Church Road. The properties, both off U.S. 360 about 15 miles west of the Brandermill residential community in Chesterfield, are being offered separately or together.

The assessed value of the combined properties is $992,800.

One parcel has numerous small storage buildings and a shed. The other has two houses.

The farm, acquired in 1998, is the primary production area for the nursery and its tree operation.

  • The fourth offering includes the equipment and vehicle assets owned by Virginia Resources Recycled, a commercial and residential land clearing, grinding, grubbing and logging business.

That auction will start at 3:15 p.m. at the Amelia County Courthouse.

The machinery and vehicles, including tractors and trucks, is valued at more than $1.5 million.

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