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wrldcoupe4

Watkins Centre

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Wow...this is pretty major news brought to my attention by a post on RCW by eandslee... I have mixed feelings about this because I fear it will contribute to greater sprawl, though if it is dense enough, it might not be too bad. It's great news for Chesterfield County, but for the region as a whole, I don't know yet...

Here are some important excerpts from the Chesterfield County Observer Article.

"Watkins Centre prepares for

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Here is an image of the proposed development:

bigmap.jpg

This is the location relative to the metro area:

watkinssmallmap2.gif

An upscale center here would be successful because the surrounding area codes have annual household incomes of over $90,000 a year. Another tidbit to point out is that Sen. Watkins made it so that when 288 was built, it would run right next to his family's property.

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I found the Watkins Centre website which was made in 2001, so things may be very different. However, it calls for "midrise to high rise offices, hotels and shops."

here is a flash movie for Watkins Centre

For some reason, this development really gives me the Tyson's Corner vibe.

Heres the website

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Thanks for the website Coupe, I just wish that they had, at least, a concept drawing of what they are envisioning here. Also, I have the same concerns as you about the project, however, it looks as though they are really trying to be thoughtful about it trying not to detract from the rest of booming parts of Chesterfield (like the Chesterfield Town Center, etc.), rather than making the other parts of Chesterfield obsolete. I have to say...wow, what a huge project though. This thing will be a bit bigger than Innsbrook when fully built out! I just would rather see these buildings being built in downtown rather than in the burbs, but most major metros have good size downtowns and in additon there are usually other various places around their metros where there are groups of highrises, etc. Atlanta, quickly comes to mind...know what I'm talking about?

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Thanks for the website Coupe, I just wish that they had, at least, a concept drawing of what they are envisioning here.  Also, I have the same concerns as you about the project, however, it looks as though they are really trying to be thoughtful about it trying not to detract from the rest of booming parts of Chesterfield (like the Chesterfield Town Center, etc.), rather than making the other parts of Chesterfield obsolete.  I have to say...wow, what a huge project though.  This thing will be a bit bigger than Innsbrook when fully built out!  I just would rather see these buildings being built in downtown rather than in the burbs, but most major metros have good size downtowns and in additon there are usually other various places around their metros where there are groups of highrises, etc.  Atlanta, quickly comes to mind...know what I'm talking about?

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Yea I agree, like I said it is reminiscent of Tyson's Corner for me....An area which is largely rural becoming a major mixed development. My only concern is that the retail market may become oversaturated...with a new mall here there would be 4 fairly close to one another (Chesterfield Towne Center, Short Pump, Stony Point, plus Watkins). The lifestyle center, which is basically just an outdoor mall, will be larger than Short Pump!!! What kind of anchors do we not already have? Maybe Nieman Marcus. I'm curious to see what the time table on this will be. I'll warm to this as long as the county takes a much more proactive stance on revitalizing the older corridors (i.e. eastern midlothian corridor w/ the city near cloverleaf, eastern hull st. corridor-east of Courthouse Rd etc..). There are also many undeveloped parcels closer to the city left behind by sprawl. There needs to be some real quality infill done. Hopefully, Powhatan County will maintain its tight restrictions on growth so that the sprawl doesn't continue farther west....

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Okay, reviewing a pdf on the watkins website, I REALLY like something I have found. Within the plan they call for multimodal transportation. Within the plan from 2002 (which may have changed but I would think this will be included) is a proposed "Commuter Rail Station"...

I'll post an image of it later...

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This project is moving forward. the county is becoming pretty eager about it. The project will be an almost $1 billion investment!!!!!! Rezoning should take place on may 25:

"Rezoning sought for development in Chesterfield

BY JULIAN WALKER

TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER

May 5, 2005

Chesterfield administrators are high on a plan to rezone hundreds of acres of farmland just west of state Route 288 at Midlothian Turnpike for use as a huge office park and shopping complex.

The rezoned land will be part of a 640-acre project called Watkins Centre, which will be more than two-thirds the size of the 800-acre Innsbrook develop- ment in western Henrico County.

The project will feature nearly 3.9 million square feet of commercial space and represents a roughly $950 million investment in the area.

Much of the property within the project is owned by Watkins Land LLC, a company that includes state Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, and 37 of his relatives.

The land has been in the family since 1876.

County officials said they want to rezone the land in the project because they believe it will generate a lot of tax revenue.

"My major issue in recommending this to the Board of Supervisors is this is an area of the county that has great potential for economic development," Chesterfield County Administrator Lane B. Ramsey said. "If the property is not zoned, we will not get a second look" from potential corporate clients.

The county plans to act as the zoning applicant in the case. Chesterfield occasionally acts as the applicant for property it doesn't own, but it happens infrequently......

.....At least one of the three Chesterfield community groups who have been briefed on the project by the developers does not oppose it.

"The transforming effect of their development can either help or hurt the Village of Midlothian. I think their position is that they want to help," Amy Satterfield, executive director of the Village of Midlothian Volunteer Coalition, said.

The project site has the highest elevation in Chesterfield, county Planning Director Kirkland Turner said.

Another component of the Watkins Centre proposal is a plan to build 1,200 residential units, ranging from apartments and town houses to single-family homes, on 212 acres at the site. That will be a separate rezoning case."

the whole article

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"A portion of the project will be dedicated to the development of a new urban core characterized by mid-rise and high-rise office, hotel and conference centers. The regional center being the highest plateau in western Richmond will capitalize on the areas existing topography, natural features and history as a landscape nursery to create a unique, integrated development."

I saw that on the website. I wonder what they really mean by new urban core...I'd also like to know how tall these "high-rise" office, hotel and conference centers will be.

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"A portion of the project will be dedicated to the development of a new urban core characterized by mid-rise and high-rise office, hotel and conference centers. The regional center being the highest plateau in western Richmond will capitalize on the areas existing topography, natural features and history as a landscape nursery to create a unique, integrated development."

I saw that on the website. I wonder what they really mean by new urban core...I'd also like to know how tall these "high-rise" office, hotel and conference centers will be.

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It's been a while since i've seen "highrise" and "Richmond" used in the same sentences. They refer to Western Richmond, will any of this be in view of/add to the downtown Richmond skyline or will this be more of a midtown/uptown effort?

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It's been a while since i've seen "highrise" and "Richmond" used in the same sentences. They refer to Western Richmond, will any of this be in view of/add to the downtown Richmond skyline or will this be more of a midtown/uptown effort?

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lol well actually this is in far western Chesterfield county. It's at the intersection of the newly completed Rt 288 and Midlothian Turnpike (rt 60). It's about 15 miles from the downtown. That's why I'm trying to figure out what they are doing. I'm sure if you built some towers at Watkins you could see downtown, but it's definitely toooooooo far away to have anyhting to do with the downtown skyline unfortunately..

mapquest image of Richmond

This should help you see where I'm talking about...

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lol well actually this is in far western Chesterfield county. It's at the intersection of the newly completed Rt 288 and Midlothian Turnpike (rt 60). It's about 15 miles from the downtown. That's why I'm trying to figure out what they are doing. I'm sure if you built some towers at Watkins you could see downtown, but it's definitely toooooooo far away to have anyhting to do with the downtown skyline unfortunately..

mapquest image of Richmond

This should help you see where I'm talking about...

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Well this is good news, it's always good to have more highrises wherever they are :) . I just wish this were closer to Richmond. Va. Beach towncenter is roughly 11 miles away from DT Norfolk. When i was up on the 10th floor of a hotel at the oceanfront i could see both DT Norfolk and TC clearly. So i guess 15 miles isn't all that bad when viewed from a height B) .

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Well this is good news, it's always good to have more highrises wherever they are  :) . I just wish this were closer to Richmond.

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I agree. I think the downtown could use a couple more highrises. I think once Riverside on the James opens and is successful, we will see more residential towers rising in the downtown area closer to or within the river district. The thing about Watkins though is that I think it may just worsen the sprawl in the area.

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I agree. I think the downtown could use a couple more highrises. I think once Riverside on the James opens and is successful, we will see more residential towers rising in the downtown area closer to or within the river district. The thing about Watkins though is that I think it may just worsen the sprawl in the area.

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Western Richmond btw, near VCU and the Fan does have some highrises, though I believe they are all residential. The new Brandt Hall at VCU is 18 stories and is next to some other high rises.

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I'm going to go with Vdogg on this one and basically say, hey, if there will be highrises in Chesterfield County, so let it be! If we can't get highrises downtown, then, at least, they will be going up somewhere in the Richmond Metro. I think that, asthetically, it would be kinda cool to drive down 288 and all of a sudden see some highrises on both sides of the highway. Like I've said before, other major metros do this and the first cities that come to mind are Atlanta and the DC Metro area (though they are both plagued with sprawl and, Coupe, your worries about sprawl are well founded). Just for the record though, I'd much rather see them go up downtown.

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I'm going to go with Vdogg on this one and basically say, hey, if there will be highrises in Chesterfield County, so let it be!  If we can't get highrises downtown, then, at least, they will be going up somewhere in the Richmond Metro.  I think that, asthetically, it would be kinda cool to drive down 288 and all of a sudden see some highrises on both sides of the highway.  Like I've said before, other major metros do this and the first cities that come to mind are Atlanta and the DC Metro area (though they are both plagued with sprawl and, Coupe, your worries about sprawl are well founded).  Just for the record though, I'd much rather see them go up downtown.

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Yea I'd rather not see Richmond become DC or Atlanta given their sickening sprawl. I guess.... I guess that if we are gonna build farther out, its better to make it dense development instead of the traditional sprawl and strip malls. I just wish downtown could land some new towers at some point. I'd much rather prefer that than the counties. But true....a tower somewhere is better than one nowhere.

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Highrises or not this thing is still sprawl, and the argument that other cities do it so it's ok is bogus IMO. See what traffic is like in those other cities? I hate to see so many acres of greenfields claimed when there are so many infill/redev opportunities throughout the Richmond area.

I noticed a "PROPOSED COMMUTER RAIL STATION" mark on the map above. Anyone have some good info on a Richmond commuter rail proposal?

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I didn't know where to put this, but since it's about Chesterfield, I thought it appropriate to put it here. Here is an article from the Chesterfield Observer regarding Chesterfield's outlook on economic growth:

Chesterfield Observer

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I didn't know where to put this, but since it's about Chesterfield, I thought it appropriate to put it here.  Here is an article from the Chesterfield Observer regarding Chesterfield's outlook on economic growth:

Chesterfield Observer

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Good to hear from you, Eric.

That's a comprehensive report on Chesterfield; thanks for posting it.

So, they expect a population of almost 320,000 within 5 years! I hope most of that growth doesn't come at the city's expense!

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if  c-field could attract businesses as good as it could attract residents, it would be booming like no other...

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You know, that makes me wonder why it is that Chesterfield can attract the residents like flies on poop, but can't really attract businesses like say, Henrico. In fact, Henrico does better than probably Richmond City and Chesterfield put together. Anyone have any reasons why?

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the city's problem is business taxes....it just costs more to do business in the city. Factor in paying for parking which is unheard of in the burbs and it does make sense for a company to think about being outside of the city limits. I think Henrico's business climate is more mature than chesterfield's. It baffles me a bit too though. The last thing C-field wants is to become a bedroom community. It makes a hell of a lot more revenue from taxing businesses than it does residents.

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^ I think that Chesterfield has a shot of becoming the next big business growth area in metro Richmond, but the county's economic development officials aren't doing enough to attract businesses outside the service sector. Luckily that's a problem that can be fixed easily by stepping up the recruiting and capital and getting some expert advice from consultants.

Chesterfield County still has tons of available land and ability to build new infrastructrure; those are usually the hardest things to overcome.

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UPDATE: The Watkins Centre rezoning case goes before the County Planning Commission on Dec. 15....

Watkins Centre Goes to Planning Commission...Impact on CTC remains the major issue

watkinsmap2.jpg

Since the project began, the retail/office complex has now grown to 800 acres on the western side of the intersection of Midlothian Turnpike and Route 288

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