CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — An estimated $323 million mixed-use development in Chesterfield known as The LAKE is waiting on a green light from local leaders, who are considering a tax break for the project.
The Board of Supervisors was set to vote on the proposed performance-based grant during its meeting Wednesday night. However, the decision was deferred to the board’s August meeting.
“I think it could be a very successful project and would add to, certainly, the revenue of the county,” Vice Chair and Dale District Representative Jim Holland said. “However, I have to admit, I’ve been out for the last week and haven’t had a chance to immerse myself in the details, and so I personally would need some more time to digest the fundamentals of the project.”
Brett Burkart, representing Lake Adventures, LLC, the developer behind the project, was in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting. He noted that conversations and work surrounding The LAKE have been underway for roughly seven years.
“There was a lot of controversy of whether we would be able to get this to the point where we’ve gotten it today. It took a lot longer than I thought it was going to be,” he said. “It was a year and a half of zoning, three years of permitting, and then another two years of trying to acquire credits.”
When 8News visited the site of the future development off Genito Road on Tuesday, crews were on scene clearing trees to make space for the 105-acre project.
“We built an entrance road, put in all of the spine utilities,” Burkart said. “We’re moving it forward as fast as we can, and so this will kind of help accelerate the next phase and help us bring in these cool tenants that we’re talking to.”
Although a timeline for when The LAKE will be operational has not yet been publicly released, Burkhart did walk through the order of construction. He said the 13-acre lake will be built first, followed by approximately 56,000 square feet of commercial space. Then, a portion of the townhomes planned for the development will be constructed, followed by additional square footage of commercial space.
A spokesperson for Lake Adventures, LLC also told 8News on Thursday that the entertainment portion of the development will be an early focus, particularly on building an amphitheater to host an estimated 40+ concerts per year.
“The amenities are very, very unique,” Burkhart said. “You’ll be able to wakeboard in the lake, and we’ll have an inflatable obstacle course, kayaks, paddleboards, things like that, and then we’re really excited about the surf park itself.”
The surf park portion of the property will be situated just north of the lake. Known as Richmond Surf, renderings of the project provided by Lake Adventures, LLC show that it will utilize technology powered by American Wave Machines to cater to surfers of all levels, allowing for control of the types of waves produced.
“We’re going to do everything best possible to see that this place succeeds,” County Administrator Dr. Joe Casey said. “Whatever asset is there, whatever tax base grows, it will be taxed at its full market value. The performance grant does not recognize revenues that this place will generate outside of the perimeter of it. Goes without saying, anyone who’s coming there is going to be also utilizing the sales and tax and services of restaurants, retail and anything else that’s, hopefully, really, within Chesterfield County.”
A spokesperson for Lake Adventures, LLC told 8News that, if approved, the performance-based tax incentives for The LAKE development would dry up with in 36 months of agreement on the grant, which is set for a vote at the end of August. However, the Deputy County Administrator for Finance and Administration clarified that the 36-month timeline would start after the lake is complete, meaning commercial and entertainment spaces would begin construction following the completion of the main body of water.