Developers want to rezone 4 Manchester parcels in riverfront district

Four acres along Walker’s Creek near the Southern States Co-op silos soon could be rezoned. (J. Elias O’Neal)

RICHMOND, Va. — A squad of well-known local developers has their sights set on a Manchester plot next to the highly visible Southern States silos.

A group comprised of Fountainhead Development’s Tom Papa and WVS Cos.’ Jason Vickers-Smith and Richard Souter is under contract to purchase nearly 4 acres at 3 Manchester Road, where they’re pondering a potential mixed-use development.

The team is seeking a rezoning of the four parcels from riverfront district to central business district, according to an application filed last month with the city’s department of planning and development.

Lory Markham, whose agency Markham Planning is handling the rezoning appeal on behalf of the development team, said the change would let the developers seek more residential density and height on the site, beyond the six stories allowed under the current designation.

Markham said during a Manchester Alliance neighborhood association meeting last week the developers are eyeing more than 200 apartments on the site with some commercial uses. The group also is looking into adding an amenity area along the canal, and researching ways to improve the infrastructure – specifically traffic in and out of the proposed project.

Papa and Souter could not be reached for comment Friday.

No design or construction timelines have been set for the proposed project.

The group’s rezoning request could go before the planning commission and City Council in late summer or early fall, Markham said.

Pending the outcome of the rezoning, the development trio would purchase the site for an undisclosed amount. The parcels were most recently assessed at a combined $1.5 million, according to city property records.

The property has long been used for truck storage and parking, and includes a dilapidated vacant industrial building.

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