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Richmond Times: Henrico panel approves plan for Short Pump complex

Henrico, VA - After Wednesday's unanimous approval of the Henrico County Planning Commission, C. Torrey Breeden said his company expects to start moving earth by September for the construction of 420 high-end apartments in Short Pump.

The gated community of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments will rent for $1,000 to $1,400 per unit, according to Breeden, executive vice president of development for Breeden Co. The complex of 17 three-story buildings will sit on about 30 acres.

He said he expects the complex to be completed by summer 2014.

Henrico's Planning Commission also gave conditional approval for 60 single-family homes on lots in an adjacent subdivision. Last year's rezoning of the property allows for up to 180 single-family homes. Robert Babcock sold the land for the apartments to Breeden's company, and Babcock's Glen Allen-based company is behind development of the single-family homes.

The entire development, projected to cost $100 million, is to cover 138 acres between North Gayton Road and Pouncey Tract Road just north of Interstate 64 in western Henrico. The project parameters call for up to 60,000 square feet of office space but no retail businesses.

Developers will be responsible for building a road through the complex, for improvements to surrounding roads and for amenities within the complex.

Plans for the project, called Bacova Road Apartments in Henrico planning documents, call for a pool, a 3,200-square-foot clubhouse and an 1,100-square-foot fitness center.

Asked if his company is optimistic that the market is strong enough to fill the new apartments, Breeden said, "We're 420 units optimistic."

Breeden is the son of Richmond native Ramon W. Breeden Jr., founder and CEO of the Virginia Beach-based Breeden Co., which has several other developments in the Richmond area.

Closest to the new complex is Towne Center West and Reflections of West Creek with commercial space and 400 apartments just west of Short Pump Town Center.

The company's developments also include the Harrowgate Meadows residential community in Chester and the Woodlake Commons shopping center in Midlothian.

Breeden said part of the reason for taking on the new apartment project is the company's experience with the apartments at Reflections of West Creek.

"We don't really see the housing market improving a lot any time soon," Breeden said. "That's fueling the apartment market."

He said his company's surveys say parking space is a major factor in prospective renters' decisions. The Bacova complex has 33 attached garages for renters who will pay a premium, and the 17 buildings will have enough surrounding space to make for relatively easy parking, Breeden said.

He noted that the completion this summer of the North Gayton Road extension will be a plus for the development's location.

Henrico officials say the North Gayton Road extension will cut Pouncey Tract traffic — up to 20,000 vehicles a day — in half. The new road will bridge I-64, making for easier access to points south for residents of the new apartment complex.

Wednesday's action by the Planning Commission is conditional for the single-family subdivision, pending the builders' specific plans.

Approval for Breeden's apartment complex is virtually complete, to be signed after final adjustments by the developer and review of details by planning staff and Henrico's public works and public utilities departments.

Wednesday's meeting of the commission drew a handful of residents who expressed their disapproval of the planned development.