Ukrop’s-anchored complex planned for massive mixed-use development

The 19-acre office complex at 2000 Westmoreland St. houses the bakery and catering business of Ukrops Homestyle Foods. The newly built Tapestry West Apartments next door are visible in the distance. (Jonathan Spiers Photos)

The transformation of the so-called Westwood area from an industrial corridor to a mixed-use neighborhood appears to be continuing as the family, who have made rainbow cookies a Richmond staple, plan massive development on the site of their flagship bakery.

The Ukrop family is planning a mixed-use fill and partial redevelopment of the nearly 50-acre site at 2000 Westmoreland St., home to Ukrop’s bakery and catering business, Homestyle Foods. The multi-phase project could ultimately consist of 1,000 multi-family residential units, along with a mix of retail, hospitality, office and hotel uses.

A development permit application has been submitted to Henrico County for presentation to the Planning Commission at its February 9th meeting.

The application was filed on behalf of Family Holdings LC, an entity managed by Jim Ukrop, which purchased the 45-acre site and office complex in 1994 for $5 million. Henrico valued the property at over $26 million last year.

Jim’s brother, Bobby Ukrop, runs Ukrops Homestyle Foods as Chairman and CEO. The brothers used to run the Ukrop family’s supermarket chain, which they sold in 2010.

Gregory Suskind

Greg Suskind, managing director of the family’s investment subsidiaries, said they decided the time was right to begin the development process after witnessing the area’s growth.

“The family has been there for almost 30 years and has done a fair amount of work on the bakery and refurbishing the office building. We’re basically just watching all of the growth in the region — the Westwood region and certainly Willow Lawn in general, and the impact of Scott’s Addition — and we just feel like it’s a good time to start that process,” he said Suskind.

The office complex houses Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods, state government offices and other tenants.

The plan is to demolish parts of the office complex and replace them with new buildings that would also fill the surrounding parking lots. Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods portion of the complex would remain as a standalone building, with a possible expansion of the bakery also in the works.

In addition to the bakery, the 32,000-square-foot complex is home to Fortis College, the Registrar’s Office of the Virginia Department of Health and various other state government offices. The structures date from the 1960s.

The project, called Westmoreland Crossing, is described in a district employee report as a phased mixed-use development with structured parking, civic and retail spaces that would provide transitional areas between the larger buildings. The application includes conceptual renderings showing similar mixed-use urban style developments.

The first phase would include a new mixed-use building adjacent to Maywill Street and the adjoining Tapestry West Apartments, built in recent years alongside the nearby headquarters of Kinsale Capital Group. The land for these buildings had also been owned by a body attached to the Ukrops.

The original building would contain up to 300 residential units, as well as retail space and structured parking. A second building next to it, planned for the second phase, would combine hotel, retail and office uses and include a parking deck.

The third phase will be a 200-unit mixed-use building along Thalbro Street. A 0.2 hectare lot between this building and Tapestry West would be used for temporary retail use and open space. In the initial phase, the existing bakery was also to be converted into an independent building.

A conceptual site plan shows the different phases of the project. (country documents)

Future phases would include a civic area off Westmoreland Street opposite its intersection with Jacque Street and two lots south of it and east of the Bakery earmarked for mixed-use development. This part of the project could include an additional 500 residential units as well as office and retail uses.

The development would include new roads and sidewalks and create a new grid-like traffic pattern throughout the site. The permit application includes a development pattern book detailing access and parking, pedestrian connectivity and streetscapes, building mass, and architectural, landscaping, and lighting design standards.

Building height would be limited to 200 feet and more than 1,400 total parking spaces are planned on the site. The staff report refers to the units as apartments and states that a breakdown of the number of bedrooms is not currently available. Of the first 500 units, no more than 10 percent will have three bedrooms, the report said.

Suskind said the market would dictate the timing and length of development. He said the project could develop more than one phase at a time.

The county’s planning staff recommends approval of the project, which the report says “consists of many positive features designed to create the desired urban development pattern.”

A conceptual rendering shows possible designs for the mixed-use buildings.

The Ukrops are working on the project with Pivot Development, a local company led by Rob Lanphear. Pivot previously worked with Ukrops on a 15,000 square foot medical office building adjacent to Ukrop’s indoor market at Patterson Avenue and Horsepen Road.

Pivot’s other projects include 25 townhouses it is developing on a portion of the Discovery United Methodist Church lot at Gayton Road and Lauderdale Drive. Lanphear also developed the Carter’s Ridge subdivision in the Tuckahoe area and was involved in the housing conversion of the former Flood Zone/Have A Nice Day Cafe building in Shockoe Bottom.

Lanphear said working with the Ukrops on the medical practice building has resulted in Westmoreland Crossing, which he says is his biggest project to date. Despite its size, he said the project fits his track record of infill development in Henrico, where he has been most active.

“I’ve worked with the ownership group in the past, and it was a natural extension of some of the things we’d worked on together,” Lanphear said.

Rob Lanphear

“What’s great about this site is that it’s an infill, and the area where I do well is infill development,” he said. “Secondly, it’s Henrico and I’ve had a strong history with the Henrico team and look forward to continuing that. It’s a bigger scale than I’ve been a part of in the past and I’m really looking forward to doing that.”

Before starting Pivot in 2017, Lanphear was a partner in local development group Stanley Shield after a stint at Ryan Homes and parent company NVR, according to his LinkedIn page.

Other firms involved in Westmoreland Crossing include architect Baskervill, civil engineer Timmons Group and landscape architect Cite Design. Local attorney Andy Condlin with Roth Jackson Gibbons Condlin is representing the group.

Lanphear said the project is in the concept phase and details such as housing arrangements need to be determined. He said the permit would allow flexibility in housing types, which could include rented or for sale townhouses or condominiums, as well as apartments, under “multi-family housing”. He declined to comment on the number of rooms planned for the hotel and whether an operator is in line.

The project would add to other development activity ramped up in and around the Westwood area in recent years after Henrico positioned the largely industrial corridor as a sort of second version of the nearby Scott’s Addition neighborhood beyond the county seat line.

Local developer Fulton Hill Properties is planning a seven-story, 253-apartment building opposite the Westmoreland Crossing site in Thalbro. Kinsale, meanwhile, recently bought the 29-acre former Anthem office campus at Staples Mill Road and Broad Street, where an expansion is planned.

The Westmoreland Crossing site is adjacent to a Lidl grocery store, and further east along Broad, Arizona, Alliance Residential Co. is planning two apartment buildings totaling 340 units on the former Motleys headquarters.

Speaking of the development of Kinsale’s headquarters, which has been spun off from the larger Ukrops site, Lanphear said: “They have done a quality job there and really set the tone for what is to come in the area. I very much look forward to continuing to help manage this property over the coming decades and to position it so that we can grow incrementally to expand the total acreage.”

A public hearing on the project would precede a vote by the Planning Commission recommending approval or rejection to the Oversight Board.

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