CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A new rezoning case up for consideration in Chesterfield has spurred rumors that the county may be getting a Whole Foods soon — but the developer has been careful not to reveal the identity of their intended tenant in filings with the county.
The application for rezoning, which will go before the county planning commission on Sept. 22, goes into detail about the proposed layout of the site, which will be split between commercial and residential uses. The operator of a proposed grocery store on the property, however, is referred to only as “Major Tenant X.”
The county also wants to know who will ultimately occupy the site, with planning commissioner Harold Ellis writing in comments on the application, “Are any end users known at this time?”
A PR representative for the developer did confirm that a tenant had been chosen and that the grocery store’s name would be revealed, “according to the grocer’s media plan.”
But, they added, “at this time we cannot reveal the grocery tenant at Midlothian Depot.”
Fronting Midlothian Turnpike, the project would have four major parts: two 12,000-14,000 square foot shop buildings, a 43,000 square foot grocery store and a diminutive shop attached to the grocery store’s left flank.
After the developer submitted their initial plans in January, the county requested extensive limitations on what kinds of stores could occupy the commercial space.
“Please further restrict the allowable land uses by prohibiting the following: appliance store, assisted living facility, automotive repair, automotive service station (including unmanned), automobile wash, columbarium, crematorium, group care facility, hotel, ice sales, nursing home, ice sales, parking lot (park and ride), and recycling receiving center,” Ellis wrote.
In updated proffers submitted on Sept. 2, the developer did just that, offering to ban those uses along with submission of a more detailed design for the grocery store. The application also states that the commercial tenants could include “fast-casual restaurants, service and fitness uses, and other daily-needs oriented retail.”
The applicant has not yet submitted elevations for the proposed commercial space. However, another planning commissioner did object to the plan to use a strip mall model for the commercial space.
“We should not continue the suburban strip center approach,” wrote Andrew Noxon. “The proposed low-density shopping center use with a large parking area along Midlothian Turnpike should be discouraged.”
The proposal also includes a 350-unit apartment complex behind the grocery store, for which the developer sought extensive exceptions to county ordinances.
For instance, the minimum size of a multifamily project in Chesterfield is 20 acres — but the project is just a little over 13 acres in total. That isn’t unusual in and of itself — developers routinely seek such exceptions — but the company also proposed some exceptions that may draw pushback from the planning commission.
For instance, the developer requested a density of 27 units per acre, far higher than the ordinance maximum, which is 10 per acre. The ordinance also sets a minimum recreational area size of 1.5 acres for multifamily projects, but the developers asked for that to be reduced to just half an acre for their project.
However, the proffered conditions did indicate intent to build extensive recreational facilities, including a rooftop pool, bike storage and courtyard green space.