At CenterPointe, new apartments and townhomes rise in fast growing area of Chesterfield

By SEAN GORMAN Richmond Times-Dispatch

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.”

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.

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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.

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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.