Wednesday, March 1, 2017
While the Millennials seem to dominate headlines, there are still plenty of Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 64) around, and they’re still a force in the real estate market.
On Monday, February 27, representatives of developer HHHunt held a community meeting at the Manakin Company 1 Fire-Rescue station to share its plans for a maximum 520 home 55 plus community in West Creek. The site is on the south side of Tuckahoe Creek Parkway just east of Hockett Road. It will be accessed from Tuckahoe Creek Parkway and Broad Branch Drive only.
The meeting generated a good turn-out. It was well-organized and—note to county, do this at all community meetings—included a portable sound system so that everyone could hear what was going on.
HHHunt, said representative Kim Kacani, builds lifestyle communities. She explained that Baby Boomer focus groups identified demand in the west end of Richmond for an upscale community of maintenance-free homes no larger than 2,500 square feet that offered amenities including a fitness center, pool, walking trails, and clubhouse to support activities.
Small lots or townhome options provide the balance between privacy and isolation that active Boomers seek in retirement. Of those surveyed, 52 percent want to retire within 20 miles of their current location; 54 percent of those cannot find homes that meet their needs.
Soon after an article about the HHHunt West Creek community ran in Richmondbizsense.com and other area media, it received many phone calls from Boomers inquiring about “getting on their list”.
The community will be age restricted. Each home, and they will all be privately owned single family, either free standing or townhomes, must have at least one resident over 55. No one under 19 will be allowed to reside there, so there will be no impact on county schools. Kacani said that this approach is supported by state and federal statutes.
West Creek, close to Short Pump and accessed by Rt. 288, is a perfect location, she contended.
The original vision of West Creek as a hub for corporate headquarter campuses never really came to pass. Although West Creek has been described as the “economic engine” for Goochland County, in reality, it looks more like a nature preserve.
The West Creek Emergency Center and Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, and the Bristol Apartment complex, slowly coming out of the ground, are the only recent developments in the central part of West Creek’s 3,500 acres. The Notch at the Broad Street Road end of West Creek has apartments, Medical office buildings, will soon be joined by a rehabilitation hospital. A memory care establishment has been approved for the south side of Broad Street Road, just west of the Henrico County line.
Placing 520 “quality rooftops”—the houses are expected to be priced between $350 and $500 thousand, the townhomes in the $280 to $350 range—will attract business to Centerville and, hopefully, jump start growth in West Creek.
HHHunt, said Kacani, has a long track record of creating high-quality well-designed and maintained communities that emphasize lifestyle. Streets will have sidewalks and use “dark sky” compliant lighting. Although most of the existing interior trees will be removed to be replaced with new plantings when construction is complete, trees along Hockett Road will remain to form the foundation of the buffer between the community and the outside world.
She said that HHHunt plans to be engaged in the community, supporting local organizations and taking part in hands on activities like Habitat for Humanity.
Traffic studies indicate that there is ample capacity on Tuckahoe Creek Parkway, including at peak hours. There will be no direct access from Hockett Road. Traffic engineer Erich Strohhacker said that VDOT will determine if a traffic signal would be required at the intersection of Hockett Road and Tuckahoe Creek Parkway. Area residents contend that traffic signal is already overdue.
As many of the residents in a 55 plus community are retired, traffic patterns differ from those in conventional subdivisions. A study of traffic at Cross Ridge, a similar community in Henrico, found that the residents make fewer trips per day than a conventional subdivision and those trips are spread out during the day rather than concentrated at peak hours.
The homes are expected to be served by natural gas. HHHunt manages the communities and will be involved “For a long time.” Construction will begin at the Tuckahoe Creek Parkway end; amenities, a sales tool, will be part of the initial phase .
Cash proffers, excluding those for schools, will be paid. The rezoning application is expected to go to the Goochland Planning Commission in May and on to the supervisors for final approval in a timely manner. Occupancy of the first homes is anticipated in early 2019. HHHunt envisions completion of 60 to 80 homes per year, with an approximate eight year build-out.
The homes will feature open concept design with first floor masters, garages, and maintenance free exteriors of material including cementitious siding, stone, and brick.
Adding more than 500 new homes to the county will further stress law enforcement and fire-rescue providers. The supervisors will need to ramp up hiring to keep pace with population growth.
As Goochlanders age, many would like to be able to downsize and stay in the community. Right now, there is no way to do that. The HHHunt proposal should fit that bill. Visit http://www.hhhuntcommunities.com/ for more information on the company.