CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — With work underway to prepare a 105-acre site that will be the largest surf park in Chesterfield County’s Clover Hill district, the Board of Supervisors is considering a multi-million-dollar tax break for the company behind the project.
The LAKE, a mixed-use development, is set to include a surf park, multifamily residences, office space, shopping, dining, hotels and more. The project was approved unanimously by the Board of Supervisors in June of 2021. But planning for the project has been underway for several years.
“This is a large-format project, mixed-use project with a large lake where you can have waterskiing,” Chesterfield County Economic Development Authority Director Garrett Hart told 8News Tuesday. “Because of the lake part of the project and the water amenities, it took quite a while to get the project zoned and approved, and get the site plans in place.”
The development is named for the planned 13-acre lake that would anchor the site.
According to county documents, at full completion, the site will have an estimated value of $323 million. However, a timeline of operation for the surf park and other amenities has not yet been publicly released.
“One of the really unique opportunities we have here is it is on Route 288, very conveniently located, and right across 288 from one of the largest sports tourism venues in the region, with almost 95,000 people visiting already,” Hart said. “In addition to having more tourism on the site, The LAKE itself attracts tourists, it also puts an opportunity in place for all of those visitors who are already in the location to go an spend more money in this location, and have more fun, and experience more things, and spend more nights in the Richmond region.”
Local leaders are set to vote at Wednesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting on whether to approve a performance-based grant for Lake Adventures, LLC, the company behind this massive project.
A spokesperson for the development shared the following statement with 8News on the proposal:
The LAKE, a multi-purpose development, is being considered for a Chesterfield County performance grant to strengthen the Chesterfield community by building a renowned destination hub – inclusive of residential, entertainment, commercial, and water sport opportunities, such as the attraction of the first East Coast public surf park. This performance-based grant enables a compressed timeline to accelerate development, which in turn requires developers to adhere to strict and specific progress milestones in a shorter period of time – purposefully designed to provide significant economic benefits for Chesterfield County.Brett Burkhart, Developer behind The LAKE
According to county documents, the grant will fund 80% of the marginal increase in real estate, sales and occupancy taxes paid by Lake Adventures, LLC in years 1 through 10, and 60% in years 11 through 20. The proposal, prepared by Hart, has been recommended for approval.
“It’s a performance-based grant that we have used many times in the county; Watkins Centre is one, Stonebridge is another one,” he said. “We’re not taking taxes from the tax base of the county. We’re only returning a portion of what the project is generating, back to the project, in order to enable it to happen.”
If approved, Hart said the performance-based grant would not only apply to the developer, but also to the hotels and other amenities onsite. But residents who move into multifamily homes and townhouses would be excluded from the calculation.
“A portion of those taxes will go back to this project to help finance the infrastructure and the public spaces,” Hart said.
He also told 8News that the goal is to keep taxes from going up for homeowners already in Chesterfield County, if not lower them.
“What we are trying to do is create a larger and larger commercial tax base so that the burden of the taxes don’t fall on the homeowner,” Hart said. “The primary goal of something like this is to increase the commercial tax base through sales tax and commercial real estate taxes, in order that we can use those funds, instead of homeowners taxes, to create the wonderful schools and parks and lifestyle we have here.”
According to a release, approximately 480 employees are expected to be hired by The LAKE for the completion of development. A fact sheet from Lake Adventures, LLC also stated that timelines of project phases and expected completion dates will be shared as updates are secured.