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HOLMBERG: Westhampton deal for Redskins park – why it’s in the playbook

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–Why is the old Westhampton School property on Patterson Avenue at the city limits so crucial to the proposed Redskins training facility miles away off Broad Street in midtown Richmond?

Some neighbors and preservationists have questioned the seemingly sweet deal – a $5,000-a-year lease Bon Secours will pay to use the historic (1917) school property for 60 years in exchange for paying $6.3 million towards the Redskins field.

The school’s land was assessed at $2.8 million and the building was valued at $4.3 million.

As it turns out, for more than a decade, Bon Secours representatives have been buying up homes in the neighborhood just south of its vast Monument Avenue St. Mary’s Hospital complex, between it and the school.

The hospital has done this before to expand and to build its sprawling parking lots and, soon, its hospitality house..

But the appropriation of the school property could mean Bon Secours could finally have a vast, continuous campus stretching from Monument Avenue all the way to Patterson Avenue.

As the school deal was being announced, a Bon Secours representative sent out registered letters to the remaining homeowners between the hospital and school, offering to buy their property.

Keith Caudle, 92, is one of those homeowners. He’s had his place on Park Avenue since 1950. His son grew up there. His beloved wife, Ruby, died there.

He’s not walking away cheaply. “I paid $9,000 for this house back in 1950,” he said. “It’s assessed now for $240,000. And I’m going to get more money than that, or at least, I’m not going to sell it. My son’s a lawyer, and he’ll sell it a little bit later for a whole lot more.”

This is just one of the latest twists in a complicated playbook behind the scenes of the Redskins deal.  Watch Mark Holmberg’s report and commentary about this twist and the whole deal here on WTVR.com.